Skip to main content

Full text of "Pilgrimages to Saint Mary of Walsingham and Saint Thomas of Canterbury"

See other formats

fi. C<:. 













" And thanne we putt us all in the mercy of God, beyng in great peyne 
and woo both day and nyght, vowyng sum of us pylgrymages to our 
lady of Loretto in Ytalya, and sum to our lady of Walsynghana, and sum 
to seynt Thomas of Caunterbury, we thatwer Englysshmen." 

Torkyngton s Pilgrimage to Jerusalem. 




THIS little volume was undertaken on finding 
that the interesting account preserved by the pen 
of Erasmus of the two principal English pilgrim 
ages was not so well known* as it deserved to 
be, whether as illustrating a chapter of religious 
history, or as supplying features of local descrip 
tion not elsewhere to be found. 

In the latter respect, indeed, it has been more 
regarded by those writers who have described the 
cathedral church of Canterbury, than by such as 

* The Editor is not aware that there is even any translation of 
the Colloquies of Erasmus more recent than that of Mr. Nich. 
Bailey the lexicographer, dated early in the last century, and in a 
style now nearly as obsolete, though somewhat less coarse, than 
that of Sir Roger L Estrange, made sixty years before. 

a 2 


have had occasion to notice the ruined fane of 

Camden was of course acquainted with what the 
Colloquies of Erasmus afforded on both places, and 
when describing each of them in his " Britannia" 
he has quoted the " Peregrinatio Religioiiis ergo," 

at Canterbury adopting some of its very words : 

but the plan of his work enjoined brevity. Somner, 
the early historian of Canterbury cathedral, has 
duly taken Erasmus with him round the church, 
and so accordingly have the subsequent Kentish 
topographers; but Blomefield, the Norfolk histo 
rian, seems as if he knew him only at second-hand, 
through the medium of Camden. 

Fosbroke, the historian of British Monachism, 
has not only neglected to avail himself of many of 
the characteristic features which Erasmus presents, 
but has even thrown a degree of discredit upon his 
narrative, as if it had been imaginary, or put toge 
ther from various quarters. His words are, " Ac 
cording to Erasmus, the Walsingham pilgrimages 
were mere imitations of those to Loretto ; but there 


is an apparent mixture of fiction in his account of 
this our famous provincial pilgrimage which pre 
cludes quotation." 

The present writer, on the contrary, has had the 
satisfaction of finding Erasmus s description of 

Walsino-ham confirmed in so many of its minor 


details, that he is induced to regard it as an exact 
description of the place, without any further devia 
tion from perfect accuracy than such as any one 
might make who wrote from recollection. 

In the first place, we find his description of the 
churches of Walsingham Priory correct: there 
were two, the priory church and the wooden 
chapel of the Virgin, around which "the New 
Work" of stone had been erected, but was never 
finished, just as Erasmus describes it. The two 
wells, which he mentions, still exist ; and the old 
wooden cottage or shed whose credit for antiquity 
was supported by a bear-skin, as well as the much- 
esteemed relic of the Virgin s Milk, have testimony 
borne to them by the Visitors queries which will 
be found in the Appendix. The miracle of the 


relates is fully vindicated by referring them to the 
observations which he made at his visit in the year 
1511; and it may also be supposed that it was 
then that the young Etonian Aldrich was his com 
panion, who became afterwards bishop of Carlisle.* 

To CANTERBURY Erasmus was accompanied by 
a man of still higher character, though he did not 
attain so exalted a rank in the Church. The iden 
tity of Gratianus Pullus with Dr. John Colet is 
shewn from a passage f in another production of 
our author ; and the various particulars of the Pil 
grimage to Canterbury are confirmed in so many 
points by evidence either still existing or remem 
bered on good authority, that no one has ever ex 
pressed a doubt but that Erasmus wrote his de 
scription of Canterbury from personal observation. 

Though no clue has been found to determine 
the year in which Colet and he were there toge 
ther, yet it must have been before the year 1519, 
which was that of Colet s death. They probably 
performed more than one journey in company, for 

* See p. 97. f Seep. 127. 


Erasmus seems to refer with delight to several such 
pilgrimages when he says, "Me nonnunquam et 
PEREGRINATIONIS comitem ascivit : nihil erat eo 

The colloquy here translated, entitled " Peregri- 
natio Religionis ergo," was apparently not written 
until some years had elapsed from the author s pil 
grimages to both places. The date which occurs 
in it, appended to the Letter supposed to have been 
written by the Virgin of the Stone near Basle, 
namely 1524, was probably the actual date of its 
composition : for it was in that year that Erasmus 
completed an enlarged edition of his Colloquies, 
being then resident at Basle, and they had been 
first printed* two years before, without the "Pere- 
grinatio Religionis ergo." In the earlier edition of 
1522 a much more brief but very lively colloquy 
had been published, in which the author had treated 
with much freedom the reputed merit of Pilgri- 

* That is to say, first with the author s consent. There had 
been one edition a little earlier, taken surreptitiously from a manu 
script copy. There is even an edition Basilise 1524 which does 
not contain the Peregriuatio Religionis ergo."" 


mages, as well as the reputed value of Pardons and 
Indulgences. In this composition, which, from its 
place in the volume, (immediately after the mere 
formularies of conversation,*) may be regarded as 
one of the first Erasmus wrote, he had given much 
offence to those interested in maintaining the super 
stitions of the age ; and in his defence of the whole 
work, which was appended to the edition of 1524, 
his apology for the sentiments thus promulgated is 
nearly as long as the colloquy itself. Both the 
Colloquy on Rash Yows and its Apology will be 
found attached to these remarks. 

In the same review of his labours Erasmus gave 
the following explanation of his intention in the 
" Pilgrimage for Religion s Sake :" 

" In the Peregrinatio Religionis ergo I censure 
those who have violently ejected all images from 
churches : and then such as run mad upon pil 
grimages undertaken under pretext of religion, for 

* Indeed, it succeeds them with merely this title, Alia in con- 
gresm. The printer gave the pages this heading, De votis temere 
susceptis. Erasmus afterwards referred to the colloquy as De 
visendo loca sacra. 


which now even associations are formed. Those 
who have been to Jerusalem are called knights, and 
they call one another brothers, and on Palm-Sun 
day seriously act a ridiculous farce, dragging along 
an ass with a rope, themselves being not much dif 
ferent from the wooden beast they draw. Those 
who have been to Compostella imitate the same 
thing. Such performances may be allowed indeed 
as an indulgence of men s fancies ; but it is riot to 
be borne that they should claim any pious merit in 
them. In this colloquy those also are stigmatised 
who exhibit doubtful relics for real, who attri 
bute to them greater value than they are worth, or 
sordidly manufacture them for gain." 

The present Editor does not put forth this 
book in any polemical spirit : though he is ready 
to avow his admiration of the constancy and perse 
verance with which, in spite of every kind of dis 
couragement, Erasmus obeyed the command of his 
FORE MEN. The best answer to the enemies of 
Erasmus among his contemporaries, and to his de- 


tractors of subsequent generations, is the constant 
progress in all the elements and characteristics of 
civilisation observable in those countries into which 
the Reformation made its most successful advances ; 
and of that Reformation, though he did not person 
ally join it, the Works of Erasmus must be re 
garded as among the most effectual pioneers : whilst 
in Catholic Spain the besotted multitude still drag 
the wooden ass of Compostella, and alas ! in Catholic 
Ireland they are still contented to grovel in the 
narrow Purgatory of Saint Patrick. 

The Editor would wish, however, to leave to 
others to draw their inferences. His object has 
been merely the illustration of a feature of our early 
religious history, in the most approved historical 
manner, that is to say, from contemporary sources 
of information, and accompanied by the citation of 
his authorities. He leaves the facts thus collected 
to speak for themselves, and desires that they may 
receive that critical examination from his readers to 
which his own efforts have been directed, in order to 
place them on the firm basis of historic truth. 





Am. Thrice welcome, Cornelius ; we have missed 
you for this age, and were beginning to despair of your 
return. Where have you been travelling so long ? 

Corn. In hell ! 

Arn. Well, you have come back so ragged, so thin, 
and so haggard, that one might suppose you were not 
far from the truth. 

Corn. Nay, I am returned from Jerusalem, not from 
the shades below. 

Arn. What fate, or what wind, took you thither ? 

Corn. The same motive that takes others beyond 

Arn. Their folly, as I think. 

Corn. So this reproach does not attach to me alone. 

Arn. What did you purchase there ? 

Corn. Nothing but misery. 


Am. You might have done that at home. But did 
you find anything that you considered worth seeing ? 

Corn. To own the truth candidly, scarcely anything. 
They show some monuments of antiquity, every one of 
which seemed to me deceptive, and invented to allure 
the simple and credulous. In fact I scarcely think they 
know for certain on what spot Jerusalem formerly stood. 

Arn. What then have you seen ? 

Corn. Great barbarism everywhere. 

Arn, Do you return nothing holier ? 

Corn. Nay, many degrees worse. 

Arn. More in cash, then ? 

Corn. No, poorer than Job. 

Arn. Don t you repent having undertaken so long a 
pilgrimage to no purpose ? 

Corn. No : I neither blush, because I have so many 
companions of my folly ; nor do I repent, because now 
it would be useless. 

Arn. Do you then bring back no advantages from so 
laborious a pilgrimage ? 

Corn. Much. 

Arn. Well, then, what is it ? 

Corn. Why, I shall henceforth live more pleasantly. 

Arn. Because, I suppose, it is delightful to remem 
ber troubles that are past ? 

Corn. There is indeed something in that ; but still 
that is not all. 

Arn. You look, then, for some further recompence ? 


Corn. In truth, I do. 

Arn. What is it ? tell me. 

Corn. I shall be able, at all times, to afford great 
entertainment, both to myself and others, by my marvel 
lous stories, when recounting my travels at gossipings 
or feasts. 

Arn. Forsooth, you are not far from the mark. 

Corn. Then I shall not derive less pleasure when I 
hear other men telling lies about things which they have 
never either heard or seen, a thing they do with such 
confidence, that when they make assertions more absurd 
than the Sicilian tales, yet they persuade even themselves 
that they are telling the truth. 

Arn. An amazing satisfaction ! You will not en 
tirely lose your oil and your labour, as they say. 

Corn. Nay, I make my calculations more advisedly 
than those who are tempted by a little money to enter 
upon a military campaign, that school of every wicked 

Arn. But it is an illiberal pleasure to make a pastime 
of lying. 

Corn. But still it is somewhat more liberal than 
either to give or receive delight in slander, or to lose 
both your time and your substance at dice. 

Arn. So far I must admit you are right. 

Corn. But there is still another good result. 

Arn. What is that ? 

Corn. If I have any friend especially dear to me, 


inclined to this madness, I shall counsel him to stay at 
home, as sailors after shipwreck are wont to admonish 
those who are about to sail of the dangers they ought to 

Am. I wish you had been my monitor at the proper 

Corn. What ? have you been seized with the same 
disease ? has the contagion reached you too ? 

Arn. I have visited Rome and Compostella. 

Corn. Good gracious ! what a comfort it is to me to 
find you a companion in my folly. What wiseacre put 
that in your head ? 

Arn. No wiseacre, but sheer stupidity; seeing that 1 
had at home a wife as yet young, a few children, and a 
household which was dependent upon me, and main 
tained by my daily exertions. 

Corn. It must needs have been some powerful motive 
that could draw you away from your dearest ties. Say 
what it was, I beseech you. 

Arn. I am ashamed to mention it. 

Corn. Surely not to me, who, as you know, am a 
sufferer from the same disorder. 

Arn. Some of us neighbours were drinking together. 
When the wine had a little warmed us, there was one 
who announced that he was determined to salute Saint 
James, and another that he would salute Saint Peter. 
Upon that, one or another engaged to join company. 
At length, it was proposed that all should go together. 


So, for fear I should appear a very shabby mess 
mate, I promised that I would go too. Presently it 
began to be debated, which we should wend to, Rome or 
Compostella. At last, it was determined that, God 
willing, the next day we should set out for both. 

Corn. O sage resolve ! more worthy to be written 
in wine than in brass. 

Am. But presently a great mazar walked in, of 
which each drank in his turn, and the vow was made 

Corn. A new kind of religion I But say, were all 
blest with a safe return ? 

Arn. All but three : of whom one dying on the way 
commissioned us to salute Peter and James in his name. 
Another we lost at Rome, and he desired that we should 
greet his wife and children for him. The third we left 
behind at Florence, his recovery entirely despaired of.* 
I imagine he is now in heaven, 

* That this statement of the mortality among the pilgrims is not 
exaggerated is shown by the following passage from the Diary of 
sir Richard Torkington, rector of Mulbarton in Norfolk, who made 
his pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the year 1517 : 

"The xxv. day of August, that was seynt Bertilmews day, the 
morue after seynt Bertilmew decessyd Robert Crosse of London 
pewterer, and was buryed in the chirche yard of Salyus [in the 
island of Cyprus] . And xxvij . day of August decessyd sir Thomas 
Toppe, a prest of the West countre, and was cast over the borde : 
as was many moo, whos soules God assoyle ! And thanne ther 
remayned in the shippe iiij. Englyssh prestis moo. 1 Gentleman s 
Magazine, vol. LXXXII. ii. 318. 

xvni RASH vows ; 

Corn. Was he, then, so pious ? 

Arn. Nay, the greatest trifler imaginable. 

Corn. Whence, then, do you draw that conclusion ? 

Arn. Because he had his satchel stuffed full of the 
most ample indulgences.* 

Corn. I understand ; but it is a long road to heaven, 
nor a very safe one, as I hear, on account of the high 
waymen which infest the middle region of the firmament. 

Arn. That is true ; but he was sufficiently provided 
with passports. 

Corn. Written in what language ? 

Arn. The Roman. 

Corn. He is then safe ? 

Arn. He is ; unless by ill-luck he should fall into 
the hands of a spirit that does not understand Latin : 
it will then be necessary for him to return to Rome, and 
obtain a new certificate. 

Corn. Are bulls sold there even to the dead ? 

Arn. Oh ! most especially. 

Corn. But meanwhile I must give you a hint, not to 
make any inconsiderate remarks, for now every place 
abounds with tale-bearers. 

Arn. Oh ! I do not at all depreciate indulgences ; I 

* " Some redeemed for money great plenty of indulgences from 
Rome, and he that had the greatest plenty of them to be cast with 
him into his grave when he was buried (which I myself have seen 
done) was counted the best prepared for death." Sermon of Arch 
bishop Grindal, in 1564. 


only smile at the folly of ray pot-fellow, who, being in 
other respects the merest trifler, yet rested the stem and 
stern, as they say, of his salvation upon parchments, 
rather than in amendment of the heart. But when shall 
we enjoy that luxury we were just now talking of ? 

Corn. At the first opportunity we will arrange a 
little compotation ; we will invite some of our fellows, and 
then we will try which can tell the greatest marvels, and 
no doubt we shall be vastly delighted with our mutual 

Am. Agreed. 

The author s defence of the preceding Colloquy, 
in his paper "De Utilitate Colloquiorum," dated 
at Basle, in May 1526, is as follows: 

" The Colloquy on visiting Sacred Places checks the 
superstitious and extravagant fancy of certain people 
who imagine it the height of piety to have seen Jeru 
salem : whither, over such wide distances of sea and 
land, run old bishops, leaving their flock, which ought 
to be tended ; thither go men of rank, deserting their 
families and their estates ; thither go husbands, whose 
children and wives require some guardian of their edu- 


cation and their modesty ; thither young men and women, 
not without great danger to their morals and chastity. 
Some even go again and again, and indeed do nothing 
else all their lives ; and all along the name of religion is 
given to superstition, love of change, folly, and rashness ; 
and a man who, contrary to the doctrine of Paul, deserts 
his own, will carry off the credit of sanctity, and flatter 
himself that he has fulfilled all the requirements of devo 
tion. Paul, in the 1st Timothy, v. 11, plainly declares, 
If any one careth not for his own, and especially those of 
his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than 
an unbeliever. And here Paul seems to speak of widows 
who neglected their children and grandchildren under the 
pretext of religion, and in order to attend to the services 
of the church. What would he then have said of husbands 
who, leaving tender children and a young wife, and that 
in poverty, undertake a journey to Jerusalem? 

" From many examples I will mention but one, neither 
so recent in date that I need fear to give offence, nor yet 
so old but that the generation is still living which cannot, 
from the greatness of the loss, forget the occurrence. 
A man of high rank had, with a pious intention, but 
little wisdom, determined to visit Jerusalem before his 
death. Having therefore made his arrangements, he 
committed to an archbishop, as to a parent, the care and 
protection of all his affairs, of his wife, then great with 
child, of his towns, and his castles. When the news 
was brought that this man had died in his pilgrimage, 


the archbishop, instead of a parent s, performed a 
robber s part. He occupied all the possessions of the 
deceased : last of all he reduced by force the strongest 
castle, into which the pregnant woman had fled for 
refuge, and, that no avenger might survive of so atrocious 
a deed, the lady, together with her promised offspring, 
was murdered on the spot. Would it not have been a 
pious work to have dissuaded a man so circumstanced 
from undertaking his dangerous and unnecessary jour 

" How many other examples of this kind might be 
found, I leave to others to ascertain : to say nothing 
meanwhile of the expenses, which, while we may allow 
them not to be entirely lost, yet no prudent man will 
deny that they might be bestowed on far better purposes. 

" But as for the religion of the matter, Saint Jerome 
commended Hilarion, because, though a native of Pales 
tine, and resident in that country, yet he had visited 
Jerusalem but once, induced so to do by its vicinity, 
and that he might not seem to despise sacred places. 
If Hilarion was deservedly commended, that he stayed 
away from Jerusalem, near as he was, lest he should 
appear to confine the Deity within a narrow locality, and 
went there only once, being near the place, that he might 
not give any offence, what is to be said of those who out 
of England and Scotland, with such expenses, and through 
so many hazards, wend to Jerusalem, especially when they 
leave at home those dearest to them, to whom, according 


to the doctrine of the apostle, they owe a constant care ? 
Saint Jerome exclaims, It is no great thing to have been 
at Jerusalem ; but to have lived well is the great thing. 
And yet in the age of Jerome it is probable that much 
plainer remains of ancient monuments existed than are 
now to be found. 

" On Vows I leave the discussion to others : yet this 
Colloquy merely goes to show, that no one ought to un 
dertake such vows rashly. This is proved by my words, 
Especially since I had at home a wife, as yet young, 
children, and a household that depended upon me, and 
was supported by my daily labour ;" and other passages 
which follow. On vows already taken, then, I will say 
nothing further, except that if 1 was the Pope I should 
not be obdurate in releasing those that are engaged by 
them. As for undertaking them, whilst I confess it is pos 
sible that some may go to Jerusalem with pious ad 
vantage, still I should not hesitate to counsel many, from 
regard to circumstances, to devote those expenses, time, 
and labour upon other things which more surely conduce 
to true piety. These sentiments I believe to be right : and 
therefore, considering the levity, or the ignorance, or the 
superstition of the multitude, it seemed proper to me to 
warn youth on this matter ; nor do I see whom this ad 
monition ought to offend, except perhaps some of those to 
whom gain is dearer than godliness. 

" Nor do I there condemn Papal Indulgences or Bulls; ; 
but I censure that greatest of triflers, who, thinking 


nothing of amendment of life, presumes to place his 
whole trust in human pardons. Whoever will here be 
persuaded to consider, what a shipwreck of religion there 
is among mankind, partly from the vicious conduct of 
those who vend the Papal Indulgences,* partly through 
the fault of such as accept them far differently than 
they ought to do, it will be allowed to be worth while to 
admonish youth on this matter. But this, I am told, is 
not very agreable to the proctors : my good fellow, if 
they are honest men, they will rejoice that the simple 
folk should be admonished ; but if gain is more sought 
by them than godliness, I take my leave of them ! " 

* See Chaucer s character of the Pardoner, a man of most aban 
doned morals ; and so also a less known poet : 

Then preched a Pardoner, as he a prest were, 
Broughte forth a bulle with many bishopes seles, 
And seide that hymself myghte assoilen hem alle, 
Of falshod, of fastynge, of avowes y-broken. 
Lewed men loved it wel, and liked hise wordes, 
Comen up knelynge to kissen hise bulles. 
He bouched him with his brevet and blered hire eighen, 
And raughte with his rageman rynges and broches. 
Thus thei gyven hire gold, glotons to kepe, &c. 



Introduction .... iii 
Erasmus s defence of his Colloquy on Pilgrimage for Reli 
gion s Sake" ..... x 
The Colloquy on " RASH Vows ; OB, PILGRIMAGES TO SACRED 

PLACES" xiii 

Note on the Mortality among Pilgrims . . . X vii 

Indulgences buried in Graves . . . xviii 

The Author s defence of the preceding Colloquy . . xix 

remarks on Rash Vows . . . xxii 

Papal Indulgences or Bulls . ib. 

scribing the Pilgrimages of AValsingham and Canterbury 1 

The scallop-shell of saint James . . . .69 

Pilgrims signs or tokens ... 70, 240 

Straw necklaces . . . . . . 73 

The rosary .....#. 

Pilgrimage to saint James of Compostella . . 76, 241 

Greek literature . . . . . .78 

Calamities dreaded from the saints . . 79, 246 

Maria a Lapide at Basle . . . . . ib. 

The epitaph of Beda . . . . . ib. 

The scroll brought to saint Giles by an angel . . 80 

Stones which conceal nothing . . 81 


Paul carries a sword . . . .81 

Saint William ...... 82 

Saint Anthony hath his sacred fire 

The situation of Walsingham . . . t 6. 

Mariazell compared with Walsingham . .83 

The revenues of Walsingham . . 85, 242 

Oil from the tombs of the saints . . 85, 242 

The Assumption of the Virgin . . 86 

Legend of sir Ralph Boutetourt . . ib. 

The shed brought from a great distance . .88 

The two wells at Walsingham . .89 

The bear s skin fixed to the rafters . 90 

Relics of the Blood of Christ at Glastonhury, Westminster, 

Hailes, and Ashridge . . ib. 

Relics of the true Cross . . . . .93 

Some pilgrims neither pure nor chaste . . .96 

Robert Aldrich the companion of Erasmus at Walsingham . 97 
Indulgences . . . . . 98, 243 

Saint Bernard . . . . . .100 

Profane use of Scripture phraseology . . . ib. 

Votive Inscription left by Erasmus at Walsingham . . 101 

Exempt jurisdiction of mitred abbeys . . .103 

Angels attendant on the Virgin .... ib. 

The beam on which the Virgin had rested . . .104 

The gigantic saint Christopher at Paris . . . ib. 

Charm attributed to the figure of saint Christopher 107, 244 

The crepaudine or toad-stone . . . 107, 243 

Gold and silver statues at shrines .... 108 

Assumed dedication of Canterbury cathedral church to saint 

Thomas of Canterbury . . . . .110 

The names of the assassins of Becket . . .111 

Books fixed to the pillars of churches . . . ib. 

The gospel of Nicodemus . . . . llo 


The ancient Altar of the Virgin and the Martyrdom at Can 
terbury ..... .113 

The point of the sword . . . . .115 

Our Lady of the undercroft . . . .116 

Saint Thomas s head . . . .118 

The leaden inscription THOMAS ACRENSIS . . . 120 

The hair shirts, &c. of the martyr . . . . 121 

The relics at Canterbury . . * . .124 

THE CHARACTER OF DR. JOHN COLET, drawn by Erasmus . 126 
An especial honour to be London-born . . 130 

The foundation of Saint Paul s School . .135 

Anecdote of a Cambridge Scotist . . . 137 

Colef s estimation of married men . . .138 

His contempt of the Scotists .... 143 

The sacristy at Canterbury . . . -. 155 

Treasures of the church of Canterbury . . . ib. 

The pastoral staff of saint Thomas . . .156 

The cross-headed staff of archbishops . ib. 


Erasmus . . . . . . .157 

The portrait of saint Thomas at Canterbury . 160, 245 

Spoliation of churches . . . . .160 

Thomas Goldwell, prior of Canterbury . . . 164 

The Shrine of Saint Thomas . . . 119,165,211 

The Shrines of Saint Edward, Saint Edmund, Saint Alban, 

and Saint Cuthbert . . . . .170 

Rapacity of the English custom-house officers . . 173 

Herbaldown hospital . . . . .175 

Saint Patrick s cave . . ... . 176 

The Roman stations . . . . . 178 

The sumptuousness of churches . . .. . 179 



Worship of the Virgin and the Saints . . 180, 245 

The abuses of Pilgrimage censured by the poet Longland 

and the lollard Thorpe . . . .183 

Modern pilgrimage on the continent . . . 190 

Historical notices of WALSINGHAM and its pilgrimage . 195 

The architecture of Walsingham . . . 200 

Articles of Inquiry for the monastery of Walsingham . 202 

Letter of Richard Southwell to lord privy seal Cromwell, 

after the visitation of Walsingham in 1536 . . 205 

Fate of the abbey on the dissolution . . . 207 

Lament for Walsingham ..... 208 

Historical notices of CANTERBURY and its pilgrimage . 211 

The martyrdom of saint Thomas of Canterbury . .213 

The four murderers of Becket . . . .219 

Honours paid to saint Thomas of Canterbury . . 221 

Relics of saint Thomas of Canterbury . . . 224 

Proceedings of Henry VIII. against saint Thomas of Can 
terbury . ..... 231 

Additional Notes (including) : 

Glaucoplutus . . . . . .241 

The Pilgrimage to Wilsdon .... 242 

Scarlet gowns and blue gowns . . . 244 

The Pilgrims Tombs at Llanfihangel aber Cowin . 246 


P. 81. Read, " This motto is derived from Romans, xiii. 4. 
P. 85. Read, " Saint Perpetuus, bishop of Maestricht, at Dinant 
in Belgium," not Dinan in Britany. 
P. 87. line 6, for foiled read fooled. 
P. 92, line 5 from foot, /or vesalle read beralle. 
P. 93, line 2, /or Kelsey read Hilsey, 


English Pilgrim, from an effigy at Ashby de la Zouche Frontispiece. 

The bearded and tight-laced Knight* . . .18 

Pilgrim on his way, from Erasmus s Praise of Folly. . 67 

Gatehouse of Walsingham Priory . . . .88 
Seal of Eton College, representing the Assumption of the 

Blessed Mary ..... 103 

Plan of part of Canterbury Cathedral . . .114 

Saint Thomas s Head . . . . .118 

Seal of Archbishop Becket . . . .156 

Shrine of Saint Thomas of Canterbury . . .166 

Seal of the Nunnery of Ivychurch, Wiltshire . . 182 

Pilgrim s sign or token of " Saint Thomas s Head" . 240 

The Pilgrims " Graves at Llanfihangel aber Cowin . . 247 

* From the sepulchral brass of sir William de Tendring : see p. 88. 


Give me my scallop-shell of quiet, 

My. staff of faith to walk upon, 
My scrip of joy, immortal diet, 

My bottle of salvation, 
My gown of glory (hope s true gage,) 
And then I ll take my pilgrimage. 

Blood is my body s only balmer, 

No other balm will here be given, 
Whilst my soul, like quiet palmer, 

Travelleth towards the land of heaven. 
Over the silver mountains, 
Where spring the nectar fountains, 

There will I kiss the bowl of bliss 

Sir Walter Raleigh s Remain* 


The scene of the Colloquy is ANTWERP, the Speakers 

Me. How comes this ? Is not that my neigh 
bour Ogygius, whom no one has seen for these six 
months? He was reported to be dead. It is the 
very man, unless I am completely deceived. I will 
go and speak to him. How are you, Ogygius ? 

Og. How are you, Menedemus ? 

Me. What country has restored you in safety 
to us? There was a sad rumour in circulation 
that you had gone the way of all flesh. 

Og. Nay, thank God ! I have meanwhile been 
so well, that I was scarcely ever better. 

Me. May you always refute such foolish reports 
in the same manner ! But what means this ? You 
are covered with scallop shells, (1) stuck all over 


with leaden and tin figures, (2) adorned with straw 
necklaces, (3) and a bracelet of serpents eggs. (4) 

Og. I have visited Saint James of Compo- 
stella(5); and, on my return, the sea-side Virgin 
so famous with the English ; or rather I have re 
visited her, for I had seen her three years before. 

Me. From curiosity, I suppose? 

Og. Nay, from motives of religion. 

Me. This religion, I suppose, has been taught 
you by Greek literature? (6) 

Og. My wife s mother had bound herself by a 
vow, that, if her daughter had a son born alive, I 
should in person salute Saint James, and offer our 

Me. Have you saluted the saint only in the 
name of yourself and your mother-in-law ? 

Og. Nay, with the devotions of the whole 

Me. I fancy not a whit less prosperity would 
have befallen the family if you had left James un- 
saluted. But, pray, what did he reply to the 
thanksgiver ? 


Og. Nothing ; but when I made my offering he 
appeared to smile, and slightly bend his head, and 
at the same time he bestowed this scallop shell. 

Me. Why should he give that rather than any 
thing else ? 

Og. Because the neighbouring sea brings him 
plenty of them. 

Me. Oh benignant saint ! so serviceable to the 
ladies, and so generous to his guests ! But is not 
this a new kind of vow, that a person should do 
nothing himself, and impose the work upon others ? 
If you were to bind yourself by a vow, that if any 
thing you were about went on well / should fast 
twice a week, do you think I should perform your 
vow for you ? 

Og. I do not think you would, even if you 
made the vow in your own person ; for it seems a 
favourite sport with you to mock at the saints. 
But it was my mother-in-law s doing. The 
custom must be observed. You know women s 
fancies ; and, moreover, it concerned my own wel 


Me. If you had not kept the vow, what danger 
would there have been ? 

Og. The saint could not have prosecuted me at 
law, I admit ; but he might have been deaf to my 
vows for the future, or he might silently have sent 
some calamity on my family. (7) You know the 
way with the great. 

Me. Tell me, how goes on that most worthy 
man James ? 

Og. Much colder than formerly. 

Me. What is the reason ? Old age ? 

Og. You trifler! you know the saints do not 
grow old. But this new doctrine, which is spread 
so widely through the world, makes him less fre 
quently visited than of yore ; and those who come, 
salute him only ; they give nothing, or as little as 
possible, saying that the money may be better spent 
upon the poor. 

Me. Impious opinion ! 

Og. And thus so great an apostle, who was wont 
to glitter all jewels and gold, now stands a bare 
block ; with scarcely a tallow candle to light him ! 


Me. If this be true, there is some danger lest 
the same should befall the other saints. 

Og. Yes ; an epistle is carried about, which the 
Virgin Mary herself has written on this matter. 

Me. Which Mary? 

Og. She who is named a Lapide. 

Me. At Basle, (8) if I am not mistaken? 

Og. The same. 

Me. So you tell me of a stone saint But to 
whom has she written ? 

Og. The letter itself gives the name. 

Me. By whom was it sent ? 

Og. No doubt by the angel who wrote and 
placed it in the pulpit from which the preacher 
it is addressed to holds forth. You must not 
suspect any deception, for I can show you the 
autograph epistle. 

Me. Can you then recognise the handwriting of 
the angel who serves the Virgin as secretary ? 
Og. Why not? 

Me. How then ? 

Og. I have read the epitaph of Beda, which 


was engraved by the angel: (9) the characters 
agree throughout. And I have read the scroll 
sent to Saint Giles: (10) the resemblance is exact. 
Are not these sufficient proofs ? 

Me. May one look at it ? 

Og. You may, if you will swear to secrecy. 

Me. Oh, you might as safely speak to a stone. 

Og. But now there are even stories that have the 
bad character of concealing nothing. (11) 

Me. Speak then to a dumb man, if you can 
scarcely trust a stone. 

Og. I will read it on this condition, that you 
listen with both ears. 

Me. I will. 

Og. " Mary the Mother of Jesus greets Glau- 
coplutus. Be it known to you, that you have 
advanced greatly in my favour, inasmuch as, fol 
lowing Luther, you earnestly argue that it is a 
work of supererogation to invoke the saints. For 
before this I have been plagued to death with the 
impertinent supplications of mortals. All things 
were demanded of me alone, as if my Son were 


always an infant, because he is represented and 
painted so in my arms, and still hanging on his 
mother s breast; and as if he did not venture to 
deny any petition, for fear I should in turn refuse 
my nourishment to him. And sometimes they would 
even make such requests to a virgin, as no youth 
of any modesty would venture to put to a bawd, 
and which I am ashamed to commit to writing. 
Meantime the merchant, preparing to sail into 
Spain for his trade, commends to my charge the 
virtue of his mistress. And the professed nun, 
at the moment that she casts aside her veil in 
preparation for flight, commits to me the care of 
her reputation, which she herself is about to throw 
away. The godless soldier, when led to the slaugh 
ter, cries out to me, Blessed Virgin, grant me a 
rich booty ! The gamester exclaims, Favour me, 
oh goddess, and part of the gain shall be yours. 
And if the dice favour them but little, they tear 
me with their reproaches, and foully curse that I 
was not the abettor of their wickedness. One 
who is projecting some base speculation exclaims, 


Grant a large profit ! If I at all refuse, they ex 
postulate, saying, Then you cannot be the Mother 
of Mercy ! Others vows are not so impious as they 
are foolish. The maid cries, Mary, give me a 
handsome and rich husband ! The wife cries, Give 
me fine children ! The lady with child cries, Grant 
me a happy time ! The old woman cries, Grant I 
may live long without cough and thirst! The 
silly old man cries, Make me young again ! The 
philosopher cries, Grant that I may weave indis 
soluble problems! The priest cries, Give me the 
best benefice ! The bishop cries, Take care of my 
church! The sailor cries, Grant me prosperous 
voyages! The abbat cries, Shew me thy Son 
before I die ! The courtier cries, Grant me clean 
confession at the hour of death ! The countryman 
cries, Send seasonable showers! The country 
woman cries, Keep our flocks and herds in safety ! 
If I deny anything I am immediately cruel. If I 
refer them to my Son, I hear, He wills whatever 
thou wilt ! Thus I alone, a woman and a virgin, 
am to give help to sailors and soldiers, traders and 


gamesters, maids and mothers, courtiers, kings, and 
husbandmen. But what I have already told is the 
least of what I suffer. Now indeed I am much 
less troubled with these matters ; and on that ac 
count I should render you the greatest thanks, if 
this convenience did not bring a greater inconve 
nience with it. There is now more ease, but less 
honour and less profit. Formerly I was addressed 
as the Queen of Heaven, the Lady of the World : 
now I scarcely hear from a few a single Ave 
Maria. Formerly I was clothed with jewels and 
gold, I abounded in presents, my offerings were of 
gauds and gems : now I am scarcely covered with 
half a petticoat, and that eaten by the mice. My 
yearly revenue is barely sufficient to keep a 
wretched attendant to light me a tallow candle 
or taper. And even this might be borne, if worse 
was not threatened. You go so far, they say, as to 
drive out of the churches whatever belongs to the 
saints. Again and again take care what you do ! 
There is not one of the other saints who cannot 
revenge himself. Peter, if turned out of the church, 


can in turn lock the doors of heaven against you. 
Paul carries a sword. (12) Bartholomew is armed 
with a knife. William under his monk s gown is 
entirely armed, and not without a heavy spear. (13) 
And how can you encounter George the knight on 
horseback, formidable both with his spear and his 
sword ? Nor is Anthony defenceless ; he has his 
sacred fire. (14) And the rest have either their 
weapons, or their calamities, which they can inflict 
on whom they will. But me, although unarmed, 
you cannot cast forth, unless at the same time you 
cast out my Son, whom I bear in my arms. From 
him I will not allow myself to be torn away ; either 
you turn him out together with me, or you must 
retain both, unless you would have the church with 
out Christ. 

" So much I wished you to understand : and you 
must consider what answer to make me; for the 
matter is very much at my heart. From my stone 
house, on the kalends of August, in the year of my 
Son s passion 1524, I the Virgin have signed this 
with my stone hand." 


Me. A very threatening and formidable epistle ! 
Glaucoplutus, I think, must take care. 

Og. If he is wise. 

Me. Why has not that excellent James written 
on the same subject? 

Og. I know not ; unless it is that he is further 
off, and in these times all letters are intercepted. 

Me. But what fate carried you back into Eng 

Og. A wonderfully favourable wind invited me 
thither, and I was almost pledged to the sea-side 
Virgin, that I would revisit her after two years. 

Me. What to seek of her ? 

Og. Nothing new: only those usual petitions, 
the health of my family, the increase of my estate, 
a long and happy life in this world, and eternal 
happiness in the next. 

Me. Could not our own Virgin Mother bestow 
the same ? She has at Antwerp a far more magni 
ficent church than that at Walsingham. 

Og. I do not deny she might; but in various 
places she grants various things, whether because 


she so thinks proper, or, as she is kind, because in 
this she accommodates herself to our desires. 

Me. I have often heard about James; but, I 
pr y-thee, describe to me the domain of this sea-side 

Og. I will gratify you as briefly as I can. It is 
the most celebrated place throughout all England, 
nor could you easily find in that island the man who 
ventures to reckon on prosperity, unless he yearly 
salute her with some small offering according to his 

Me. Where dweUs she? 

Og. At the extreme coast of England on the 
north-west, (15) at about three miles distance from 
the sea. It is a town maintained by scarcely any 
thing else but the number of its visitors. (16) It is 
a college of canons, but of those which the Church 
of Rome terms regular, a middle kind between the 
monks and those termed secular canons. 

Me. You describe amphibious animals, such as 
the beaver. 

Og. Yes, and the crocodile. But, without fur- 


ther cavil, I will give you some notion of them in 
three words. In things disallowed they are canons, 
in things allowed they are monks. 

Me. You still speak to me in riddles. 

Og. But you shall have a mathematical demon 
stration. If the Roman pontiff were to launch his 
thunderbolts against all monks, then they would be 
canons, and not monks ; but, if he were to allow all 
monks to take wives, then they would be monks. 

Me. Oh what new privileges ! I wish they 
would take mine ! 

Og. But to proceed. This college has scarcely 
any other resources than from the bounty of the 
Virgin. (17) For, though the larger offerings are 
preserved, all that is in money, or of inferior value, 
falls to the sustenance of the flock, and of their 
head, whom they call the Prior. 

Me. Are they of good reputation ? 

Og. They are highly spoken of ; richer in piety 
than in revenue. The church is graceful and 
elegant ; but the Virgin does not occupy it ; she 
cedes it, out of deference, to her Son. She has 


her own church, that she may be on her Son s right 

Me. On his right hand? To which point then 
looks her Son ? 

Og. Well thought of. When he looks to the 
west, he has his Mother on his right hand. When 
he turns to the sun-rising, she is on the left. Yet 
she does not even occupy this ; for the building is 
unfinished, and it is a place exposed on all sides, 
with open doors and open windows, and near at 
hand is the ocean, the father of the winds. 

Me. It is hard. Where then does the Virgin 

Og. Within the church which I have called un 
finished is a small chapel, made of wainscot, and ad 
mitting the devotees on each side by a narrow little 
door. The light is small, indeed scarcely any but 
from the wax-lights. A most grateful fragrance 
meets the nostrils. 

Me. All these things accord with religion. 

Og. Nay, when you look in, Menedemus, you 
would say it was the mansion of the saints, so much 


does it glitter on all sides with jewels, gold, and 

Me. You make me long to go there. 

Og. You would not repent your journey. 

Me. Is there no sacred oil there ? 

Og. You simpleton! That oil does not exude 
except from the tombs of the saints, as Andrew and 
Katharine. (18) Mary was not buried. (19) 

Me. I forgot myself, I admit. But finish your 

Og. The wider religion extends itself, the greater 
the variety of things shown in various places. 

Me. And perhaps that the return may be the 
richer ; according to the proverb 

When many bands are on the plain 
The booty s quickly sought and ta en. 

Og. And showmen are always at hand. 

Me. Were they some of the canons ? 

Og. By no means : they are not required, lest 
by occasion of religion they should be alienated from 
religion; and, while they minister to the Virgin, 
should too little regard their own virginity. Only* 


in the inner chapel, which I have described as the 
shrine of the holy Virgin, one canon attends the 

Me. For what purpose ? 

Og. That he may receive and take charge of 
what is given. 

Me. Must those give who are not inclined ? 

Og. Not at all ; but a kind of pious shame brings 
some to the point, that they give if any one is stand 
ing by, though they would not if no observer was 
present; or, at least, they give somewhat more 
largely than they would otherwise have done. 

Me. You describe a very natural feeling, and 
one which I have often noticed. 

Og. Nay, but there are those so devoted to 
the most holy Virgin, that, whilst they feign that 
they are themselves going to place an offering on 
her altar, with wonderful dexterity they filch away 
what some one else has placed there. 

Me. Suppose no one was on the watch, still 
would not the Virgin immediately launch forth her 
vengeance upon such ? 


Og. Why should the Virgin do that, any more 
than the Heavenly Father himself? whom some are 
not afraid to despoil of his ornaments, and even 
break through the church wall for the purpose. 

Me. I cannot satisfy myself, whether one should 
be most astonished at their impious audacitv? or at 
the forbearance of the Deity. 

Og. On the north side there is a gate, not of 
the church, I must tell you, but of the exterior 
wall with which the whole precinct of the church is 
inclosed. It has a very small wicket, such as is 
seen in the gates of noblemen, so that any one 
wanting to enter is obliged first to subject his limbs 
to attack, and then must also stoop his head. 

Me. It would not be very safe for an enemy to 
enter by such a wicket. 

Og. You are right. Our reverend guide related 
that once a knight, seated on his horse, escaped 
by this door from the hands of his enemy, who 
was at the time closely pressing upon him. The 
wretched man, thinking himself lost, by a sudden 
aspiration commended his safety to the Virgin, who 


Me. It would be wrong to doubt any longer. 

Og. Under the wicket was an iron grating, al 
lowing only a foot-man to pass ; as it would not be 
proper that any horse should again tread the spot, 
which the former horseman had consecrated to the 

Me. Right enough. 

Og. To the east of this is a chapel full of won 
ders. Thither I go. Another guide receives me. 
There we worshipped for a short time. Presently 
the joint of a man s finger is exhibited to us, the 
largest of three : I kiss it ; and then I ask, Whose 
relics were these? He says, St. Peter s. The 
apostle? I ask. He said, Yes. Then, observing 
the size of the joint, which might have been that of 
a giant, I remarked, Peter must have been a man of 
very large size. At this one of my companions 
burst into a laugh ; which I certainly took ill, for if 
he had been quiet the attendant would have shown 
us all the relics. However, we pacified him by of 
fering a few pence. Before the chapel was a shed, 
which they say was suddenly, in the winter season, 


when everything was covered with snow, brought 
thither from a great distance. (21) Under this shed 
are two wells, full to the brink ; (22) they say the 
spring is sacred to the holy Virgin. The water is 
wonderfully cold, and efficacious in curing the pains 
of the head and stomach. 

Me. If cold water can cure the pains of the head 
and stomach, very soon oil will extinguish fire. 

Og. You are told a miracle, my good fellow : 
for what miracle would there be if cold water merely 
satisfied thirst? And this is only one part of the 
story. They affirm that the spring suddenly burst 
from the earth at the command of the most holy 
Virgin. Whilst looking around carefully at every 
thing, I asked how many years it might be since 
that little house was brought thither : he answered, 
Some centuries. " But the walls," I remarked, " do 
not bear any signs of age." He did not dispute the 
matter. " Nor even the wooden posts : " he allowed 
that they had been recently put up, and indeed they 
spoke for themselves. " Then," I said, " the roof 
and thatch appear to be new." He agreed. " And 


not even these cross-beams," I said, "nor the 
rafters, seem to have been erected for many years." 
He assented. " But," I said, " as now no part of 
the old building remains, how do you prove that this 
was the cottage which was brought from a great 
distance ? " 

Me. Pray how did your conductor extricate 
himself from this difficulty ? 

Og. Why, he immediately showed us a very old 
bear s skin fixed to the rafters ; (23) and almost ridi 
culed our dulness in not having observed so mani 
fest a proof. Thus convinced, and asking pardon 
for our slowness of apprehension, we turned towards 
the heavenly Milk of the blessed Virgin. 

Me. Oh mother most imitative of her Son ! He 
has left us so much of his Blood upon earth ; (24) 
she so much Milk, as it is scarcely credible should 
have belonged to a single woman with one child, 
even if the infant had taken none of it ! 

Og. They make the same remarks of our Lord s 
cross, (25) which is shown privately and publicly in 
so many places, that, if the fragments were brought 


together, they would suffice to freight a merchant- 
ship ; and yet our Lord bore the whole of his cross. 

Me. Does not this seem inexplicable to you also ? 

Og. It may perhaps be called wonderful, but not 
inexplicable; since our Lord, who increases these 
things at his will, is omnipotent. 

Me. You account for it very piously : but I fear 
that many such things are fabricated for lucre. 

Og. I cannot think that God would suffer him 
self to be mocked in that manner. 

Me. Not ! whilst the Mother, and the Son, and 
the Father, and the Holy Ghost are alike robbed by 
the sacrilegious, and do not even disturb themselves 
so much as to drive away the wretches even by a 
nod or a murmur ? So great is the forbearance of 
the Deity. 

Og. So it is : but hear the rest. That Milk is 
kept on the high altar, in the centre of which is 
Christ; at his right hand, for honour s sake, his 
Mother ; for the Milk personifies the Mother. 

Me. It can be easily seen then ? 

Og. Inclosed in crystal. 


Me. It is then liquid ? 

Og. How can you talk to me of liquid, when it 
was effused fifteen centuries ago ? It is dried up ; 
you would say it was ground chalk, mixed with 
white of egg. 

Me. Why then do they not show it uncovered ? 

Og. Lest the virgin Milk should be contami 
nated by men s kisses. 

Me. You say well : for there are those, I fancy, 
who bring to it a mouth neither pure nor chaste. (26) 

Og. As soon as the canon in attendance saw us, 
he rose, put on his surplice, added the stole to his 
neck, prostrated himself with due ceremony, and 
worshipped : anon he stretched forth the thrice-holy 
Milk to be kissed by us. On this we also, on the 
lowest step of the altar, religiously fell prostrate ; 
and, having first called upon Christ, we addressed 
the Virgin with a little prayer like this, which I had 
prepared for the purpose: "O Virgin Parent! 
who with thy maiden breast hast deigned to give 
milk to thy Son Jesus, the Lord of heaven and earth, 
we beseech thee, that, being purified by his blood, 


we also may attain to that happy childhood of dove- 
like simplicity, which, guiltless of malice, fraud, and 
deceit, earnestly desires the true milk of the Gospel, 
until it grows into the perfect man, to the stature of 
the fullness of Christ, whose happy communion thou 
enjoyest for ever, with the Father and Holy Ghost. 

Me. A very pious prayer. What reply did she 

Og. Each appeared to assent, if my eyes were 
not deceived. For the holy Milk seemed to leap 
a little, and the Eucharist shone somewhat brighter. 
Meanwhile the ministering canon approached us, 
saying nothing, but holding out a little box, such as 
are presented by the toll-collectors on the bridges 
in Germany. 

Me. Ah ! I have often enough cursed those beg 
ging-boxes, when travelling through Germany. 

Og. I gave a few pence, which he offered to the 
Virgin. Presently, by means of an interpreter well 
skilled in that language, and a youth of much cour 
tesy of address, his name, if I mistake not, was 


Robert Aldrich, (27) I inquired, as civilly as I 
could, by what proofs he was assured that this was 
the Milk of the Virgin. This I wished to learn with 
a really pious desire to be able to stop the mouths of 
those who are accustomed to ridicule everything of 
this kind. At first the canon turned away his face, 
and was silent : I directed the interpreter to repeat 
the question, but with even more delicacy than before, 
so that, if he had addressed with such words the Mo 
ther herself when recently brought to bed, she could 
not have taken it amiss. But the canon, as if pos 
sessed by a fury, looking aghast upon us, and appa 
rently horrified at the blasphemous inquiry, replied, 
" What need to ask such questions, when you have 
the authenticated inscription?" And he seemed 
ready to turn us out as heretics, if a few pence had 
not smoothed down the man s ferocity. 

Me. What did you then ? 

Og. We? What should you think? Just as 
if we had been beaten with cudgels, or struck with 
lightning, we slunk away, humbly begging pardon 
for our audacity : for so it is proper to do in holy 


matters. Thence we went to a little house, the 
hostel of the heavenly Virgin. On our way thither, 
one of the inferior members of the convent showed 
himself, and watched us as if with suspicion; a 
little further on another came, also looking at us ; 
and afterwards a third. 

Me. Perhaps they wanted to take your portrait. 

Og. But I imagined a far different thing. 

Me. What then? 

Og. That some sacrilegious thief had pilfered 
something from the ornaments of the holy Virgin, 
and that suspicion had fallen upon me. So, enter 
ing the chapel, I salute the Virgin Mother with this 
little prayer : " O, only of all women Mother and 
Virgin, most happy Mother, most pure Virgin ! 
now we impure visit thee pure, we salute thee, we 
worship thee with our poor offerings: I beseech 
that thy Son may grant to us, that, imitating thy 
most holy manners, we also may, by the grace of 
the Holy Ghost, be enabled spiritually to conceive 
the Lord Jesus in the inmost bowels of the soul, 
and when once conceived never to lose him. 


Amen." And at the same time kissing the altar, I 
laid down some pence, and departed. 

Me. How did the Virgin take this ? Did she 
make no nod to signify that your prayer was heard ? 

Og. The light, as I said, was doubtful, and she 
stood in the dark at the right side of the altar. 
Moreover, the speech of the last canon had so over 
come me, that I did not dare to raise my eyes. 

Me. So the result of this pilgrimage was not 
particularly happy ? 

Og. Nay, it was most highly so. 

Me. You restore me to life again : for my heart 
had fallen to my feet, as old Homer says. (28) 

Og. After dinner we returned to the church. 

Me. Did you dare, when suspected of sacrilege ? 

Og. I was so perhaps ; but I had no suspicion 
of myself. The mind conscious of rectitude knows 
no fear. I was attracted by a desire to see the 
inscription to which the canon had referred us. 
After a long search we found it at last ; but fixed 
so high that it was not every sight that could read 
it, My eyes are such that I can neither be pro- 


perly called lynx-eyed, nor altogether purblind. So 
whilst Aldrich read it I followed him as he went, 
not entirely trusting him in a matter of such im 

Me. Was all incredulity shaken off? 

Og. I was ashamed that I had at all hesitated : 
so plainly was the whole thing stated, the name, 
the place, the mode of the transaction: in short, 
nothing omitted. A man named William, born at 
Paris, not only pious in other respects, but espe 
cially zealous in collecting the relics of the saints 
throughout the world, having travelled over many 
countries, and everywhere visited the monasteries 
and churches, at length arrived at Constantinople. 
There this William s brother was bishop; and, 
when he was preparing for his return, this bishop 
informed him of a certain virgin devoted to God, 
who possessed the Milk of the Virgin Mother ; ob 
serving how abundantly fortunate he would be if, 
either by entreaty, or purchase, or by contrivance, 
he could obtain any portion of it ; for all the other 
relics, which he had hitherto collected, were nothing 


to that holy Milk. Hereupon William did not rest 
until he had begged half of that Milk. With this 
treasure he fancied himself richer than Croesus. 

Me. I should think so : and beyond all his hopes. 

Og. He hastens straight home : on the journey 
he is attacked by a fatal disease. 

Me. There is nothing in human life either last 
ing or entirely prosperous. 

Og. On perceiving his danger, he privately 
summons a Frenchman, his most intimate com 
panion upon his pilgrimage ; and, having solemnly 
stipulated secrecy, he commits to him the Milk, 
with this condition, that, if he returned home safe, 
he should deposit that treasure on the altar of the 
holy Virgin, who is worshipped at Paris in a mag 
nificent church, looking on either side on the passing 
Seine, and where the river itself seems as a mark of 
honour to give place to the divinity of the Virgin. 
To be brief, William was buried. The other hastens 
on ; but was in turn seized by a fatal illness, and 
when he despaired of recovery, he delivered the Milk 
to an English comrade, very strictly binding him 

that he should do what the Frenchman was himself 
to have done. The latter dies; the former takes 
the Milk, and deposits it on the appointed altar, in 
the presence of the canons of that place, who were 
then as yet termed regular, as they still are at St. 
Genevieve. From them he obtained half of the 
Milk ; and when he had brought this to England, 
he at last, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, 
carried it to Walsingham. 

Me. This story is certainly very consistent. 

Og. Nay, lest any incredulity should remain, 
there are appended the names of suffragan bishops, 
imparting to those who visit it, and do not omit 
some slight offering, as much indulgence as they 
are empowered to bestow. (29) 

Me. How much is that ? 

Og. Forty days. 

Me. Are there days even in purgatory ? 

Og. Of course there is time. 

Me. When they have bestowed the whole of 
this allowance once, is all they have to bestow ex 
hausted ? 


Og. By no means. For what they give bubbles 
up again; and it happens directly contrary to the 
cask of the Danaidse ; for that, though constantly 
filling, is yet always empty ; but if you draw for 
ever from this, there is still no less in the cask. 

Me. If the forty days were accorded to a hun 
dred thousand men, would each have so many ? 

Og. Just so many. 

Me. And if those who have received forty 
before dinner again ask for forty after supper, 
would they be ready for delivery ? 

Og. Yes, were it ten times in the same hour. 

Me. If I had but such a little bank at home, I 
would not ask for more than three pence at a time, 
if they run out as freely. 

Og. You might as well wish you were made all 
of gold, if you were to have all your desires. But 
I return to my story. From a kind of pious scruple 
this proof was added : the Milk of the Virgin, 
which is shown in many other places, is deserving 
of high respect ; but this is more to be reverenced 
than the rest, because, whilst that was scraped from 


stones, this flowed from the very breasts of the 

Me. How did that appear ? 

Og. Oh! it must have been related by the 
virgin of Constantinople, who presented the Milk. 

Me. And she perhaps was informed by Saint 

Og. So I think. 

Me. Whose good fortune it was to taste the 
Milk from the same breast which was sucked by 
the child Jesus. (30) And for that reason I am 
surprised that he is styled the mellifluous Bernard 
and not the lactifluous. But how can they call 
that the Milk of the Virgin which did not flow 
from her breasts ? 

Og. It flowed like the other ; but, being received 
by the stone on which she happened to sit, it dried 
up : and then, by the will of God, it was thus mul 

Me. Just so : proceed. 

Og. Well, then, we had completed our inquiries, 
and were preparing to depart, walking about in the 


mean time, and looking whether there was any 
thing more, worthy of observation, when again some 
of the inferior brethren were at hand, who looked at 
us askance, pointed with their fingers, ran forwards, 
retired, ran forwards again, nodded, and appeared in 
clined to address me, if they had but courage enough. 

Me. Did not that alarm you ? 

Og. Nay, I turned my face towards them, 
smiling, and looking as if I would invite them to 
speak. At length one approached, and asked my 
name : I give it. He then inquires whether I was 
the same person who three years before had fixed 
up a votive inscription in Hebrew characters ? I 
confessed I was the man, (31) 

Me. Did you then write it in Hebrew ? 

Og. Oh no ! but they call Hebrew whatever 
they do not understand. Presently there came up, 
summoned by them as I suppose, the Protos-Hyste- 
ros of that convent. 

Me. What sort of dignity do you call that? 
Have they not an abbat ? 

Og. No. 


Me. Why so? 

Og. Because they do not understand Hebrew. 

Me. Nor a bishop ? 

Og. Oh dear, no ! 

Me. Why? 

Og. Because the Virgin, even now, is too poor 
to buy the expensive mitre and staff. (32) 

Me. Not even a provost ? 

Og. Not even that. 

Me. What prevents it ? 

Og. Because Provost is a name of dignity, not 
of sanctity. And so colleges of canons reject the 
name of Abbat, and willingly adopt that of Provost. 

Me. But I never before heard of this protos- 

Og. Then you are shockingly unskilled in 


Me. I have heard of the hysteroproton in rhe 

Og. You have it. This man, who is next to 
the Prior, is the Posterior-Prior. 

Me. You mean the Sub-Prior. 


Og. He saluted me very courteously. He tells 
me how laboriously many had strived to read those 
verses : how many spectacles had been wiped in vain: 
how often some old doctor of theology or of law 
had come, and been conducted to the inscription. 
Some had said they were Arabic characters, 
some that they had no meaning: at last one was 
found who read the title. That was written in 
Latin words and characters, but in capitals. The 
verses were Greek, written in Greek capitals, which 
at first sight seemed to look like Latin capitals. 
When requested, I gave the meaning of the verses 
in Latin, rendering them word for word. I had 
then repeatedly to decline a reward offered for this 
little task, but I declared that nothing was so diffi 
cult that I would not most eagerly undertake in the 
service of the most holy Virgin, even if she were to 
send me with letters to Jerusalem. 

Me. What need could she have for you as a 
letter-carrier, when so many angels attend her both 
at her hands and feet ? (33) 

Og. He then drew out of a bag a portion of 



wood cut from a beam on which the Virgin Mother 
had been seen to rest. (34) A wonderful fragrance at 
once proved it to be a thing extremely sacred. For 
my part, having received so distinguished a present, 
prostrate and with uncovered head, I kissed it three 
or four times with the highest veneration, and placed 
it in my purse. 

Me. May one be allowed to see it ? 

Og. As far as I am concerned you shall be wel 
come ; but I would not persuade you to look at it if 
you are not fasting, or 

Me. Show it to me ; there is no danger. 

Og. There then. 

Me. Oh, how fortunate you are in such a pre 
sent ! 

Og. Ah, be assured, I would not exchange this 
fragment, small as it is, for all the gold of the 
Tagus : I will inclose it in gold, but so that it may 
shine through crystal. Then the Hystero-Protus, 
when he sees me so reverently handling that gift, 
deeming me not unworthy to be trusted with 
greater things, inquires whether I had ever seen the 


secret parts of the Virgin. That term not a little 
disconcerted me ; yet I did not dare to inquire what 
he might call the secret parts of the Virgin. Forsooth 
in matters so sacred even a slip of the tongue is not 
free from danger. I said that I had not seen them, 
but that I was very desirous to do so. Now I am 
led on as if in an ecstacy. Several wax-candles 
are lighted ; and a small image is produced, neither 
excelling in material nor workmanship, but in virtue 
most efficacious. 

Me. The size is not of much consequence in the 
performance of miracles. I have seen Christopher 
at Paris, (35) who is not merely a waggon s load, 
or a colossus, but just equal to a mountain; 
yet he is not celebrated for any miracles that ever 
I heard. 

Og. At the feet of the Virgin is a jewel, to 
which no name has yet been given in Latin or 
Greek ; the French have named it a toad-stone, (36) 
because it so imitates the figure of a toad, as no art 
could do the like. And what makes the miracle 
greater, the stone is very small ; the figure of the 


toad does not project, but shines as if inclosed in the 
jewel itself. 

Me. Perhaps they imagine the likeness of a 
toad, as on cutting the root of fern we imagine an 
eagle. And as boys, what do they not see in the 
clouds ? dragons breathing flames, mountains burn 
ing with fire, armies rushing to battle. 

Og. No, you may be assured that no living toad 
shews itself more plainly than it was expressed 

Me. So far I have borne with your tales ; but 
now you must find some one else to swallow the toad. 

Og. I am not surprised, Menedemus, that you 
are so disposed, No one would have persuaded me, 
even if a whole college of divines had asserted it, 
unless with these eyes, these very eyes I say, I had 
seen it, examined it, and proved it. But still you 
seem to me to be very unskilled in natural history. 

Me. Why so ? Because I do not believe that 
asses fly ? 

Og. Are you not aware how the hand of Nature 
sports in the representation of the colours and shapes 


of all things, not only in her other works, but par 
ticularly in precious stones ? Then what wonder 
ful powers has she bestowed upon those stones, ut 
terly incredible, unless experience had practically 
given us faith ! Tell me, would you believe that 
steel untouched would be attracted by the magnet, 
and again be repelled by the same, unless you had 
seen it with your eyes ? 

Me. No indeed, although ten Aristotles had 
sworn it. 

Og. You must not, then, pronounce everything 
fabulous that you have not already ascertained by 
your own experience. In ceraunia we see the 
resemblance of lightning ; in pyropus living flames ; 
in chatazia both the appearance and the cold of hail, 
even if you cast it into the midst of the fire; in 
the emerald the deep and pellucid waves of the sea ; 
the carcinias imitates the form of a sea-crab, the 
cepites that of a serpent, the scarites of a fish, the 
hieracites of a hawk; the geranites shows the 
mimic head of a crane; the aBgophthalmus shows 
a goat s eye ; there is one which has a pig s eye, 


another three human eyes together ; the lycophthal- 
mus has a wolf s eye painted in four colours, fiery- 
red and sanguine, and in the midst black bordered 
with white : if you open a black cyamea you find 
in the middle a bean ; the dryites imitates the trunk 
of a tree, and also burns like wood; cissites and 
narcissites represent ivy; astrapias casts rays of 
lightning from a white or azure centre ; phlegonites 
shows a fire within, which cannot come forth ; in 
anthracites you may see some sparks shoot out; 
crocias gives the colour of the crocus, rhodites of 
the rose, chalcites of brass; aetites resembles an 
eagle with a fiery tail ; taos has the figure of a pea 
cock; chelidonia of an asp; myrmecites has the 
figure of a creeping ant within it ; cantharias exhi 
bits an entire beetle; scorpites wonderfully repre 
sents a scorpion. But why should I pursue these 
things, which are innumerable, whilst there is no 
part of nature, either in the elements, or in animals, 
or in plants, which she, as if in wantonness, has not 
imitated in stones ? Do you wonder, then, that a 
toad is figured in this gem ? 


Me. I wonder that Nature should find sufficient 
leisure so to sport in the imitation of everything. 

Og. She wished to exercise the ingenuity of the 
human intellect, and even thus to drive us from 
idleness. And yet, as if there was nothing with 
which we could beguile the tedium of time, we go 
mad upon buffoons, upon dice, or upon fortune- 

Me. Your sentiments are perfectly just. 

Og. It is added by some who are not of light 
authority, that if you apply vinegar to this kind of 
stones, the figures are seen to move their limbs as 
if swimming about 

Me. Why do they attach a toad to the Virgin ? 

Og. Because all filthiness, malice, pride, ava 
rice, and whatever belongs to human passions, has 
been by her subdued, trodden under foot, and ex 

Me. Alas for us who bear such a toad in our 
breasts ! 

Og. We shall be pure, if we diligently worship 
the Virgin. 


Me. How does she delight to be worshipped ? 

Og. You would pay her the most acceptable 
worship if you were to imitate her. 

Me. You have spoken most judiciously. But 
that is very difficult. 

Og. It assuredly is, but at the same time most 

Me. Come,, finish your story. 

Og. He then exhibited the golden and silver 
statues. " This one/ says he, " is entirely gold; this 
is silver gilt ; " he added the weight of each, its value, 
and the name of the donor. (37) When, wonder 
ing at everything I saw, I was congratulating the 
Virgin on her fortunate opulence, the reverend 
showman says to me, " Since I see you are a pious 
spectator, I should not think it right to conceal 
anything from you ; you shall see the Virgin s 
most secret treasures;" and at the same time he 
drew forth from the altar itself a world of admirable 
things, the individual articles of which, if I were to 
proceed to describe, this day would not suffice for 
the relation. So that pilgrimage terminated most 


fortunately for me. I was abundantly gratified 
with sights ; and I bring away this inestimable gift, 
a token bestowed by the Virgin herself. 

Me. Have you made no trial of the powers of 
your wood ? 

Og. I have : in an inn, before the end of three 
days, I found a man afflicted in mind, for whom 
chains were then in preparation. This piece of wood 
was placed under his pillow, unknown to himself: 
he fell into a sleep equally deep and prolonged ; in 
the morning he arose of whole mind. 

Me. Perhaps it was not madness, but drunken 
ness only. That malady is wont to be cured by 

Og. When you feel inclined to jest, Menedemus, 
take care to choose some other subject; to jest upon 
the saints is neither pious nor safe. Nay, the man 
himself related, that he had seen in his sleep a woman 
of admirable beauty, who presented to him a cup. 

Me. It was hellebore, I imagine. 

Og. What it was is uncertain ; but this is most 
certain, that the man s reason is restored. 


Me. Have you passed in neglect THOMAS OF 

Og. The very last I should neglect. No pilgri 
mage is in higher estimation. 

Me. I am desirous to hear about it, if it is not 

Og. Nay, I shall be gratified by your listening. 
That part of England which is opposite to France 
and Flanders is called Kent. Its chief city is Can 
terbury. In this city there are two monasteries 
nearly contiguous, each following the rule of Saint 
Benedict. That which is dedicated to Saint Au 
gustine seems the older ; the other, which is now 
called Saint Thomas s, (38) appears to have been 
the see of the archbishop, where with a few chosen 
monks he passed his life, as prelates still have 
houses near to the church, but separate from the 
houses of the other canons. For formerly almost all 
bishops and canons were alike monks. That is evi 
denced by clear remains of antiquity. But the 
church dedicated to Saint Thomas erects itself to 
heaven with such majesty that even from a dis- 


tance it strikes religious awe into the beholders. 
So now with its splendour it dazzles the eyes of its 
neighbour, and as it were casts into the shade a 
place which was anciently most sacred. There are 
two vast towers, that seem to salute the visitor from 
afar, and make the surrounding country far and 
wide resound with the wonderful booming of their 
brazen bells. In the porch of the church, which is 
towards the south, are stone statues of the three 
knights who with impious hands murdered the 
most holy man : their family names are inscribed 
Tuscus, Fuscus, and Berrus. (39) 

Me. Why is so much honour bestowed on the 
impious ? 

Og. The same degree of honour is bestowed 
upon them which is bestowed on Judas, Pilate, 
Caiphas, and the band of wicked soldiers, which 
you see laboriously sculptured on golden altars. 
Their names are added, that the guilt of their crime 
should ever attach to them. They are thrust for 
ward into sight, that no courtier should hereafter 
lay his hands upon bishops, or upon the property of 


the church. For those three courtiers, after the 
perpetration of their crime, were seized with mad 
ness, nor were they restored to reason until the in 
tercession of the most holy Thomas had been im 

Me. Oh the unfailing clemency of the martyrs ! 

Og. On your entrance, the edifice at once dis 
plays itself in all its spaciousness and majesty. To 
that part any one is admitted. 

Me. Is nothing to be seen there ? 

Og. Nothing, except the magnitude of the 
structure, and some books fixed to the pillars, (40) 
among which is the Gospel of Nicodemus, (41) and 
the monument of I know not who. 

Me. What comes next? 

Og. The iron screens stop further progress, but 
yet admit a view of the whole space from the choir 
to the end of the church. To the choir you mount 
by many steps, under which is a passage leading 
to the north. At that spot is shown a wooden 
altar, dedicated to the holy Virgin, but mean, nor 
remarkable in any respect, unless as a monument of 


antiquity, putting to shame the extravagance of 
these times. There the pious man is said to have 
breathed his last farewell to the Virgin, when his 
death was at hand. (42) On the altar is the point of 
the sword (43) with which the head of the most 
excellent prelate was cleft, and his brain stirred, 
that he might be the more instantly despatched. 
The sacred rust of this iron, through love of the 
martyr, we religiously kissed. Leaving this spot, we 
descended to the crypt. (44) It has its own priests. 
There was first exhibited the perforated skull of the 
martyr ; (45) the forehead is left bare to be kissed, 
whilst the other parts are covered with silver. At 
the same time is shown a slip of lead, engraved with 
his name, THOMAS ACRENSIS. (46) There also hang 
in the dark the hair shirts, (47) the girdles, and 
bandages, with which that prelate subdued his flesh ; 
striking horror with their very appearance, and re 
proaching us for our indulgence and our luxuries. 

Me. And perhaps reproaching even the monks. 

Og. That I am neither able to assert nor to 
deny ; nor indeed is it any business of mine. 


Me. You say very true. 

Og. From hence we returned into the choir. 
On the north side the armaries were unlocked : it is 
wonderful to tell what a quantity of bones was 
there brought out, sculls, jaw-bones, teeth, hands, 
fingers, entire arms; on all which we devoutly 
bestowed our kisses; and the exhibition seemed 
likely to last for ever, if my somewhat unmanage 
able companion in that pilgrimage had not inter 
rupted the zeal of the showman. (48) 

Me. Who was he ? 

Og. An Englishman, named Gratian Black, (49) 
a learned and pious man, but not so well affected 
towards this part of religion as I could wish. 

Me. Some Wickliffite, I suppose. 

Og. I do not think so; although he had read 
Wickliffe s books ; where he got them I cannot say. 

Me. Did he offend the priest ? 

Og. When an arm was brought forward which 
had still the bloody flesh adhering to it, he drew 
back from kissing it, and even betrayed some 
signs of weariness. The priest presently shut up 


his treasures. We next viewed the table of the 
altar and its ornaments, and then the articles which 
are kept under the altar, all most sumptuous; 
you would say that Midas and Croesus were beg 
gars, if you saw that vast assemblage of gold and 

Me. Was there no kissing here ? 

Og. No ; but another kind of sentiment came 
across my mind. 

Me. What was that ? 

Og. I sighed that I had no such relics at home. 

Me. What an impious thought ! 

Og. I confess it, and I devoutly prayed the saint 
for pardon before I moved a step from the church. 
After this, we were led into the sacristy. (50) 
Good God ! what a display was there of silken vest 
ments, what an array of golden candlesticks ! (5 1 ) 
There we saw the pastoral staff of Saint Thomas. 
It appeared to be a cane covered with silver plate ; 
it was of very little weight, and no workmanship, 
nor stood higher than to the waist. (52). 

Me. Was there no cross? (53) 


Og. I saw none. A pall was shown, which, 
though wholly of silk, was of a coarse texture, and 
unadorned with gold or jewels. There was also a 
sudary, dirty from wear, and retaining manifest 
stains of blood. These monuments of the simplicity 
of ancient times we willingly kissed. 
Me. Are not they shown to anybody ? 

Og. By no means, my good friend. 

Me. Whence then was such confidence reposed 
in you that no secret thing was reserved ? 

Og. I had some acquaintance with the reverend 
father William Warham, the archbishop ; (54) he 
had given me a note of introduction. 

Me. I hear from many that he is a man en 
dowed with singular courtesy. 

Og. You would rather say that he is courtesy 
itself, if you knew him. He has such learning, 
such simplicity of manners, such piety of life, that 
you would find him deficient in no quality of a per 
fect prelate. From this place, then, we were con 
ducted back to the upper floor, for behind the high 
altar you ascend again, as into a new church. 

( A XT EH IUTK Y. 51 

There, in a little chapel, is shown the whole figure 
of the excellent man, gilt, and adorned with many 
jewels. (55) Here an unforeseen accident nearly 
destroyed all our pleasure. 

Me. What misfortune have you now to relate ? 
Og. My companion Gratian by no means ad 
vanced in favour ; after a short prayer he asked the 
attendant priest : "Here," says he, "good father, is 
it true what I hear, that Thomas while alive was 
exceedingly kind to the poor ?" " Most true," said 
he ; and he began to relate many of his acts of be 
neficence towards the destitute. Then Gratian re 
marked, " I do not imagine that such disposition of 
his is changed, unless perhaps increased." The 
priest assented. He said again : " Since, then, that 
most holy man was so liberal towards the poor 
whilst he was still poor himself, and required the 
aid of money for his bodily necessities, do you not 
think, that now, when he is so wealthy, nor lacks 
anything, he would take it very contentedly, if any 
poor woman, having starving children at home, or 
daughters in danger of prostitution from want of 
E 2 


dowry, or a husband laid up with disease, and des 
titute of all assistance, should first pray for pardon, 
and then take from these so great riches some small 
portion for the relief of her family, as if receiving 
from a consenting person, either as a gift or a 
loan ?" When the attendant on the holy head made 
no answer to this, Gratian, being of an ardent tem 
per, added, " I am clearly convinced that the most 
holy man would rather rejoice that even when dead 
he should relieve by his riches the wants of the 
poor." Then the priest began to knit his brows, to 
protrude his lips, and to look upon us with Gor- 
gonian eyes: nor do I doubt but that he would 
have cast us out of the church with disgrace and 
reproaches, if he had not known that we were re 
commended by the archbishop. However, I paci 
fied the man s anger with some apologies, declaring 
that Gratian had said nothing seriously, but had 
merely indulged his usual habit of banter ; and 
at the same time I laid down a few pence. 

Me. I really very much commend your piety. 
But still it sometimes seriously occurs to me, whe- 


tlier those can be regarded as blameless who con 
sume so much wealth in building, adorning, and 
enriching churches, that they altogether exceed all 
moderation. (63) I confess that in sacred vestments 
and in the vessels of the Church a dignity is due to 
divine worship : and I would wish the structure to 
have its majesty. But to what purpose are so many 
holy-water vessels, so many candlesticks, so many 
golden statues ? to what purpose the immense cost 
of what they call organs ? Nor, meanwhile, are we 
content with single organs only. To what purpose 
is that musical din, provided at great expense, 
whilst at the same time our brethren and sisters, 
the living temples of Christ, perish with thirst and 
hunger ? 

Off. In these matters, indeed, no pious and wise 
man would not prefer moderation ; but, since this 
fault arises from a species of extravagant piety, it 
claims indulgence, especially when we recollect the 
various disorders of those who despoil churches of 
their wealth. It is generally given away by princes 
and monarchs, and destined to perish more lament- 


ably in gaming or in war. And if you alienate 
anything from this source, at first it is regarded as 
sacrilege; next, those who have been accustomed 
to give withdraw their hands ; finally they are even 
led on to rapine. (56) Therefore the ecclesiastics 
are more the guardians than the masters of these 
things. Finally, I would rather see a church 
abounding in sacred furniture, than, as some are, 
bare, dirty, more like stables than churches. 

Me. But we read that formerly those bishops 
were applauded who sold the sacred vessels, and 
with the produce relieved the poor. 

Og. And they are applauded still, but applauded 
only ; there is neither liberty nor inclination to imi 
tate them, I imagine. 

Me. I interrupt your narrative ; I now wait to 
hear the end of the story. 

Og. You shall have it : I will conclude it in a 
few words. At this moment the head priest came 

Me. Who was he ? the abbat of the place ? 

Og. He has a mitre, and he enjoys the reve- 


nue of an abbat ; he only wants the name, and is 
called Prior, because the archbishop is there in the 
place of an abbat : for of old whoever was the arch 
bishop of that district was also a monk. 

Me. Forsooth I could bear even to be called a 
camel, if my revenue was suitable to an abbat ! 

Og. He appeared to me to be a man equally 
pious and judicious, nor unskilled in the Scotian 
theology. (57) He opened to us the shrine, in which 
what is left of the body of the holy man is said to 

Me. Did you see the bones ? 

Og. That is not permitted : nor indeed is it pos 
sible without the aid of a ladder : but a wooden 
canopy covers the golden Shrine ; and when that is 
drawn up with ropes, inestimable treasures are 
opened to view. (58) 

Me. You amaze me. 

Og. The least valuable portion was gold ; every 
part glistened, shone, and sparkled with rare and 
very large jewels, some of them exceeding the size 
of a goose s egg. There some monks stood around 


with much veneration : the covering being raised, 
we all worshipped. The Prior with a white rod 
pointed out each jew r el, telling its name in French, 
its value, and the name of its donor; for the 
principal of them were offerings sent by sovereign 

Me. He must needs be blessed with an extraor 
dinary memory. 

Og. You guess right : but it is helped by exer 
cise, for he frequently goes through his muster- 
roll. From hence we returned to the crypt, where 
the Virgin Mother has her abode, but a somewhat 
dark one, being hedged in by more than one iron 

Me. What was she afraid of? 

Og. Nothing, I imagine, except thieves. For I 
have never seen anything more burdened with 

Me. You are telling me of untold wealth. 

Og. When lamps were brought, we beheld a 
more than royal spectacle. 

Me. Does it surpass Walsingham in riches ? 


Og. In outward show it far surpasses her ; what 
her hidden riches are she only knows herself. This 
is not shown except to men of high rank, or great 
friends. Lastly, we were conducted back to the 
sacristy : there was brought out a box covered with 
black leather; it was laid upon the table and 
opened ; immediately all knelt and worshipped. 

Me. What was in it ? 

Og. Some torn fragments of linen ; and most of 
them retaining marks of dirt. With these, as they 
told us, the holy man used to wipe the perspiration 
from his face or his neck, the runnings from his 
nose, or such other superfluities, from which the 
human frame is not free. There my friend Gratian 
again ran into not the best favour. To him, who 
was at once an Englishman, a person well known, 
and of no small consequence, the Prior graciously 
offered to present one of the pieces of linen, imagin 
ing that he was making a present that would be 
most highly acceptable. But Gratian, not suffi 
ciently grateful, drew it together with his fingers, 
not without some intimation of disgust, and disdain- 


fully replaced it ; pouting out his lips as if imitating 
a whistle, for he had that trick, if anything offended 
him, which at the same time he deemed beneath 
his regard. My heart was at once agitated with 
shame and fear. But the Prior, with his usual 
good sense, pretended not to notice it; and after 
offering us a cup of wine he courteously dismissed 
us. When we had returned to London 

Me. What business had you there, when now 
you were not far distant from your own coast ? 

Og. That is true ; but I purposely avoided that 
coast, which is more infamous for cheats and rob 
beries than any Greek rock is for shipwrecks. I will 
tell you what I witnessed at my last passage. A good 
many were being conveyed from the shore at Calais 
in a boat to the larger ship. .Among these there 
was a young Frenchman, poor and ragged. From 
this man they demanded a halfpenny : for so much 
they extort from every one for the shortest freight. 
He pleaded his poverty : they for a jest searched 
him, and, having taken off his shoes, they found 
within the folds of the soles ten or twelve pence : 


these they openly seized, laughing and jeering at 
the wretched Frenchman. 

Me. How did the young man take it ? 

Og. What could he do ? he wept. 

Me. Did they act thus upon any authority ? 

Og. Only upon the same by which they rob the 
trunks of travellers, and take their purses, when 
ever they find an opportunity. (59) 

Me. It is surprising that they should venture 
on such injustice, when so many witnesses were 

Og. They are so accustomed to it that they 
think they have a right to do it. Many observed 
it from the large vessel ; in the boat were some 
English merchants, who in vain murmured at it. 
The men gloried as if they did a clever thing, in 
thus over-reaching the rogue of a Frenchman. 

Me. I should think it very good sport to bring 
those maritime thieves to the gallows. 

Og. But either coast alike abounds with such. 
So you may guess 

What may not tyrants dare, when thieves do thus ? 

On this account I shall for the future prefer some 
circuit to that short passage. Besides, as to the in 
fernal regions the descent is easy, but the return 
very difficult, so along this shore the entrance is not 
very easy, and the departure most difficult. Some 
skippers of Antwerp were waiting at London ; with 
them I determined to trust myself to the sea. 

Me. Has that city such virtuous sailors ? 

Og. As a monkey is always a monkey, so I con 
fess a sailor is always a sailor : but, if you compare 
the sailors of Antwerp with those who have learnt 
to live by robbery, they are angels. 

Me. I must remember it, if I am ever bitten 
with a fancy of visiting that island. But return 
to the path from which I have led you astray. 

Og. Know, then, that those who journey to 
London, not long after leaving Canterbury, find 
themselves in a road at once very hollow and 
narrow, and besides the banks on either side are so 
steep and abrupt, that you cannot escape ; nor can 
you possibly make your journey in any other di 
rection. On the left hand of this road is a hospital 


of a few old men, (60) one of whom runs out as 
soon as they perceive any horseman approaching ; 
he sprinkles his holy water, and presently offers 
the upper part of a shoe, bound with a brazen rim, 
in which is a piece of glass resembling a jewel. 
Those that kiss it give some small coin. 

Me. In the same road I would rather meet with 
an hospital of old men than a band of valiant 

Og. Gratian rode on my left hand, next to the 
hospital ; he was covered with water ; however, he 
endured that. When the shoe was stretched out, 
he asked the man what he wanted. He said, that 
it was the shoe of Saint Thomas. On that my 
friend was irritated, and turning to me he said, 
" What, do these brutes imagine that we must kiss 
every good man s shoe ? Why, by the same rule, 
they would offer his spittle to be kissed, or other 
bodily excrements." I pitied the old man, and by 
the gift of a small coin I comforted his trouble. 

Me. In my opinion, Gratian was not irritated 
entirely without reason. If the shoes and slippers 


were preserved as a proof of simplicity of life, I 
would not blame them : but it appears shameless to 
me to obtrude slippers, shoes, and sandals to every 
one to be kissed. Though if a person chose to do 
so of his own accord, from any strong feeling of 
piety, I think it might be pardonable. 

Og. I must own that these things had better not 
be done : but from such matters as cannot be at 
once corrected I am accustomed to gather whatever 
good can be found in them. Meanwhile I have 
pleased myself with this reflection, that a good man 
is like a sheep, a bad man like a noxious animal. 
A viper after it is dead can indeed bite no longer, 
but it kills by its stink and its poison ; the sheep, 
during its life, nourishes with its milk, clothes with 
its wool, enriches with its dung ; when dead, it fur 
nishes a useful hide, and it is altogether fit for food. 
Thus violent men, and those who are devoted to 
this world, whilst they live, are disagreeable to all ; 
when dead, with the din of their knells and their 
ostentatious funerals they are still troublesome to 
the survivors, and sometimes also from the inaugu- 


rations of their successors, that is, from new exac 
tions ; but the good in every way make themselves 
of great benefit to all. Thus this saint, whilst he 
was alive, by his example, his learning, his admoni 
tions, invited to piety, relieved the destitute; and, 
when dead, he is of almost greater utility. He has 
raised this most magnificent church, he has concili 
ated the highest deference to the order of priests 
throughout England. Finally, this fragment of his 
shoe supports this little community of poor men. 

Me. That is indeed a pious meditation: but I 
wonder that you, as you are of this mind, have 
never visited the cave of Saint Patrick, (61) of 
which they tell some prodigious tales, nor, as it 
seems to me, very probable ones. 

Og. Nay, no relation of that can possibly be so 
prodigious but what it must be surpassed by the 

Me. Have you then made your pilgrimage even 
so far as that ? 

Og. I have crossed those truly Stygian straits, 
I have descended into the jaws of Avernus : I have 


witnessed all that is going on among the people 
below ! 

Me. I should very much like to hear some 
account of them, if you do not mind the trouble. 

Og. Well then, this must be only the commence 
ment of our conversation, already, I think, long 
enough for a beginning. I am going home, to order 
my supper to be got ready ; for I have had no dinner. 

Me. Why no dinner ? out of religion ? 

Og. Not at all : but out of spite. 

Me. Do you spite your own belly ? 

Og. No, but the covetous cooks : who, whilst 
they do not provide what they ought, still do not 
hesitate to charge their guests what they ought 
not : and thus I am wont to be revenged on them. 
If I have any hope of a pretty good supper, either 
with a friend or at a tavern a little more liberally 
conducted, my stomach goes without its dinner. 
But, if my luck brings me such a dinner as I like, 
about supper-time my stomach begins to crave again. 

Me. Do you not blush to appear sparing and 
stingy ? 


Og. Menedemus, those who expend their 
blushes in such things, believe me, make a prodigal 
expenditure. I have learned to save mine for other 

Me. Now I long to hear the rest of your story ; 
so expect me as a guest at your supper-table ; there 
you will tell it more at your ease. 

Og. Forsooth, I take it very kind that you vo 
lunteer to be my guest, whilst many though earnestly 
pressed refuse ; but this favour shall be returned to 
you twice over, if you will sup at home to-day. 
For my time must now be occupied in the affairs of 
my family. But I have a plan more convenient 
for both of us. To-morrow do you prepare dinner 
for me and my wife at your house ; then my stories 
may be extended even to supper-time, until you 
confess you have had enough of them : and, if you 
desire it, we will not even leave you at supper. 
Why do you scratch your head? Only take care 
to prepare for us ; we will not fail to come. 

Me. I would prefer the stories unpurchased. 
But come, a little dinner shall be given you; it 



will however be an insipid one, unless you season it 
with good stories. 

Og. But hold, do not you feel a little inkling to 
go upon these pilgrimages ? 

Me. Possibly I shall when you have finished 
your account of them: as I am now inclined, I 
am satisfied in going the round of the Roman 

Og. The Roman? when you have never seen 

Me. I will tell you. My circuit is made at 
home, in this manner : I enter the parlour, and take 
care that the modesty of my daughters is safe from 
attack. Next I proceed to the offices, and watch 
what the men and the maids are about ; thence into 
the kitchen, observing whether there is any need 
of reproof; thence to another and another place, 
noticing what my children are doing, what my wife, 
being careful that everything should go on in due 
order. These are my Roman stations. (62) 

Og. But Saint James would take care of these 
things for you. 



Me. That I ought to take care of them myself, 
the Holy Scriptures instruct me ; but I have never 
read the commandment, that I should entrust them 
to the saints ! 

Est qui Hierosolymam, Romam, aut Divum 
Jacobum adeat, ubi nihil est illi negotii, domi 
relictis cum uxore liberis. 

DBS. ERASMI Morce Encomium. 



(1) Covered with scallop-shells. 

No symbol of pilgrimage is better known than the 
scallop-shell; so that no modern artist or costumier 
would think of representing a pilgrim without this ap 
purtenance. Thus in a masquerade before queen Eliza 
beth a pilgrim was clad in a coat of russet velvet* 
fashioned to his call, his hat being of the same, with 
scallop-shells of cloth of silver." The prototype of such 
designs seems to have been the image of Saint James 
himself, who was generally represented in this attire, 
though in Spain he appears as an armed cavalier. 
Fuller, indeed, in his Holy War, asserts that the es 
callop-shells were assumed because used for cups and 
dishes by the pilgrims in Palestine ; and he derives the 
armorial bearings of Villiers, a cross charged with es 
callops, from the Crusades. But, from what is said 
by our own author, and by other older authorities, it 
would seem that the escallop-shell was peculiar to Com- 

70 NOTES. 

postella. Piers Plowman especially names the " shelles 
of Galice." What is still more decisive, Alexander III. 
Gregory IX. and Clement V. by their bulls granted to 
the archbishops of Compostella a faculty to excommuni 
cate all persons who should sell these shells to pilgrims 
anywhere except in that city. 

(2) Stuck all over with tin and leaden images, 

Not only the hat, but all parts of the dress, of the 
returning pilgrim, had these memorials fixed upon them. 
The pilgrim in Piers Plowman wore 

An hundred of ampulles* 

On his hat seten, 

Signes of Synay, 

And shelles of Galice, 

And many a crouche on his cloak, 

* The " ampulles" were probably brought from Rheims, where 
the kings of France were usually crowned, and anointed from the 
sainte ampoulle there preserved. Philip de Commines, speaking of 
the death-bed of Louis XI. says that the Holy Vial of Rheims, 
which had never been removed before, was brought to his chamber 
at Plessis, and stood when he died upon the head of his cupboard, 
for he intended to be anointed with it again, as he had been at his 
coronation. "Some were of opinion," adds Commines, "that he 
intended to have anointed himself all over ; but that was not likely, 
for the vial was but small, and no great store of oil in it. I saw it 
myself at the time I speak of." 

NOTES. 71 

And keyes of Rome, 
And the vernycle bi-fore, 
For men should know 
And se bi hise signes 
Whom he sought hadde. 

Chaucer s pardoner, to show he had come from Rome, 
A vernicle hadde he sowed upon his cappe ; 

being a memorial of the Saviour s portrait impressed on 
an handkerchief, exhibited at St. Peter s. 

The course of proceeding at Canterbury is minutely 
described by the continuator of Chaucer, and the inten 
tion specified in terms remarkably similar to those alleged 
by Piers Plowman. After all their devotions had been 
duly performed at the shrine, 

Then, as manere and custom is, signes there they bought, 
For men of contre should know whome they had sought, 
Eche man set his silver in such thing as they liked. 
And in the meen while the miller had y-piked 
His bosom ful of signys of Caunterbury brochis, 
Though the pardoner and he pryvely in her pouches 
They put them afterwards that noon of them it wist. 

Afterwards, on going to dinner, 

They set their signys upon their hedes, and some oppon their 

And sith to the dyner-ward they gan for to stapp. 

The custom had commenced even in the time of 
Giraldus Cambrensis, who in his early life was a contem 
porary of the martyred archbishop. Describing an in- 

72 NOTES. 

terview which he had, on arriving in London, with the 
bishop of Winchester, he says, that it was perceived that 
he and his fellows were lately come from Canterbury, 
because the signs of Saint Thomas were hanging from 
their necks.* 

Louis XI. on his interview with Henry king of Castile in 
1462 was observed to wear a very old hat, with a leaden 
image in it (as says Philip de Commines) : and in such 
guise he is familiar to the readers of Quentin Durward. 

There is an essay on these Pilgrims Signs, by Mr. C. 
Roach Smith, in the first volume of the Journal of the 
British Archaeological Association : some specimens are 
there engraved, and others in Wright s Archaeological 
Album, 1845, and in M. Rigollot s " Monnaies incon- 
nues des Eveques des Innocens, des Fous," &c. Paris, 

The trinkets of Compostella are still in the highest 
estimation. The silversmiths of Santiago " assert that a 
silver Santiago on horseback is an infallible security 
against ague and robbers : and certainly, as such a 
santito only costs a few shillings, the insurance is not an 
unsafe speculation, as it is like a waterman s protection 
badge. We appended such a medallion to our Zamarra, 
and travelled hundreds of leagues over every part of 
Spain, without sickness, sorrow, or even being robbed, 
except by innkeepers; all which was attributed by an 

* "Cum signaculis B. Thomae a collo suspensis." Anglia 
Sacra, ii. 481. 

NOTES. 73 

excellent canon of Seville to the special intervention of 
the Captain-General of the Spains (Saint James is a mi-, 
litary patron, like the English Saint George) ; and cer 
tain it is that very few Gallician soldiers ever omit to 
stow away in their petos, or linen gorget waddings, a 
Santiagito and rosary, which ought to turn aside bullets 
and bayonets." Murray s Hand-book of Spain, p. 671. 

(3) Hung with straw necklaces. 

This allusion I am unable to explain, as I do not find 
such emblems elsewhere mentioned. 

(4) With bracelets of serpents eggs. 

Erasmus here means the rosary, which was usually 
carried upon the arm, and which was strung as the eggs 
of serpents were supposed to be connected. 

Mr. Ford, in Murray s Hand-book of Spain, has given 
the following note upon the rosary, when describing the 
cathedral of Compostella : 

" The fourth and last side opens to the north, on the 
Azabacheria or Plaza de San Martin. The former 
term is derived from azabache, jet, of which vast quan 
tities of rosaries used to be made and sold on this spot to 
the pilgrims as they entered, just as is done at Jerusalem, 

74 NOTES. 

and in the Great Court of Mecca. The whole thing is 
borrowed from the oriental : thus azzabach, the Persian 
schabah, signifies " small black beads." The making 
these chaplets constitutes a lucrative trade in all pilgrim 
cities, whether in the East or in the Peninsula. The 
mendicant monks manufacture their cuentas, counters, 
from a brown sort of mais berry, which were the precise 
Moslem sibhd, counters, and made of berries, hab ; the 
divisions were marked by cuttings of vines, sarmientos. 
They presented these holy beads as a great favour to 
those who put money into their purses, and the counting 
them affords an occupation to the indolence of devout 
Spaniards ; so the pious Moors are always telling their 
twer. The modern Egyptian Mahomedan s chaplet, the 
seb hhah, soob hhah, consists of ninety-nine small beads, 
with marks of divisions between them. (Lane, i. 92.) At 
each of these beads the Moslem repeats an epithet in 
praise of God, whose name is reserved as a climax for 
the last and largest. In the jealous worship of one 
God, the Mahomedan contrasts with the Marian 
Spaniard, who, having borrowed the rosario from him, 
has adapted it to his female worship. Few Spanish 
females ever go to church without this oriental append 
age ; and their devotion is 

To number Ave Marias on their beads. 

" The Dominicans were the managers and great 
preachers of its virtues and miraculous properties, the 

NOTES. 75 

Virgin having given her own chaplet of beads to Saint 
Dominic, which was called a rosary from the sweet per 
fume which it emitted. It is carried in the hand, or tied 
round the neck, while the excellent rope of Saint Francis 
is only worn round the waist. The hands of many 
Spanish monks have been observed after death to be 
perfumed with attar, from their constantly holding the 
rosary, and never washing off its fragrance, just as the 
cigar has the same effect on profaner fingers. The 
illiterate, both Moors, Chinese, and Spaniards, find these 
beads to be a convenient help in the difficult arithmetical 
operations of counting the " long prayers " and frequent 
repetitions which Christianity especially condemns, and 
the Pope and Mahomet especially require, since such 
mere repetitions have in both creeds an actual saving 
virtue of themselves, where forms have been substituted 
for spiritual essentials. The rosario ought to contain 
150 beads, in which only one Pater noster, one Lord s 
prayer, is allowed for every ten Ave Marias-, * but one 
ha penny-worth of bread to this intolerable deal of sack ! 
But these jet chaplets are gloomy when compared to 
those made in the bright South. Few however of the 
rosarios of the golden age of Spain have escaped the 
sacrilegious melting-pot. Those of Cordovese and Mex 
ican manufacture are exquisitely wrought in pure gold 
filigree, and studded with precious stones; but the 
virtues of the rosary would form a hand-book of them 

76 NOTES. 

(5) Saint James of Compostella. 

This shrine was at the town of Santiago, in the 
ancient kingdom of Gallicia, and is constantly mentioned 
by the English pilgrims of the middle ages by the same 
name translated. Whenever the pilgrimage of " Saint 
James " is mentioned, it means the pilgrimage to Com 
postella. The latter name is derived from campus 
stella, because a star denoted where the body of the 
saint was concealed. " The great celebrity of this shrine 
is attributed to the circumstance of the Spaniards being 
kept back, by papal prohibition, from joining in the cru 
sades, or in pilgrimages to Jerusalem, because they had 
the infidel in their own territory. It is remarkable that 
the Spanish Moors had anticipated their Christian neigh 
bours in this species of substitution : for, as Mecca was 
in the hands of the khalif of the East, his rival in the 
West sanctioned a local shrine at Cordova, and a visit to the 
Ceca in that city, where some of the bones of Mahomet 
were pretended to be preserved, was declared to be in 
every respect equivalent to a pilgrimage to Mecca. In 
like manner the imitating Spaniards, who could not go to 
Jerusalem, set up their local substitute ; they chose their 
mountain capital, where they too said their prophet was 
buried : thus the sepulchre at Compostella represented 
alike those of Jerusalem and Mecca. A corn tax, 
estimated at 200,000/. a year, was formerly collected 
throughout Spain for the shrine of Compostella, and 

NOTES. 77 

was not abolished until 1835. The duty of visiting 
Compostella, which, like that of a pilgrimage to Mecca, 
was absolutely necessary in many cases to take up an in 
heritance, led to the construction of roads, bridges, and 
hospitals, to armed associations, which put down 
robbers and maintained order: thus the violence of 
brute force was tempered." (Mr. Ford, in Murray s 
Hand-book of Spain, to which the reader may refer for 
further illustrations of the place and its superstitions.) 

An instance of pilgrimage from England to Compo 
stella occurs as early as the reign of Henry II. in the 
case of Maurice de Barsham, (of East Barsham, not far 
from Walsingham,) who made on his departure a dona 
tion to the priory of Castle Acre. (Blomefield and 
Parkin s Norfolk, fol. iii. 759.) In 10 Edward II. the 
celebrated commander Sir James Audley had been cap 
tured at sea on his passage to Saint James. (Archaeo- 
logia, xxvL 345.) Mr. Ford supplies, in addition, the 
following important particulars relative to the intercourse 
between England and Compostella : 

" At the marriage of our Edward I. in 1254, with 
Leonora, sister of Alonzo el Sabio, a protection to Eng 
lish pilgrims was stipulated for : but they came in such 
numbers as to alarm the French, insomuch that when 
Enrique II. was enabled by the latter to dethrone Don 
Pedro, he was compelled by his allies to prevent any 
English from entering Spain without the French king s 
permission. The capture of Santiago by John of Ghent 

78 NOTES. 

increased the difficulties, by rousing the suspicions of 
Spain also. But in the fifteenth century the number 
of English pilgrims was great: Rymer mentions 916 
licences granted in 1428, and 2460 in 1434. The 
decay of the pilgrimage mentioned by Erasmus is con 
firmed by Molina, who says that " the damnable doc 
trines of the accursed Luther diminished the numbers of 
Germans and wealthy English." 

There is an amusing old English ballad, describing the 
distresses on shipboard on a voyage to Saint James, 
written about the reign of Henry VI., in the Reliquiae 
Antiquae, 1841, 8vo. i. 2. 

(6) Greek literature. 

It is perhaps scarcely necessary to observe that this is 
one of the quiet ironies so continually thrown out by our 
author. Erasmus had devoted himself to the extension 
of Greek learning, which he had publicly taught at the 
university of Cambridge, as well as in other places. He 
had been accustomed to hear all kinds of absurd objec 
tions to it, and whatever ignorant or prejudiced people 
were inclined to dislike was ascribed to its influence. He 
chose to place pilgrimage in the same predicament. 

NOTES. 79 

(7) Some calamity on my family. 

Thus the parishioners of Glastonbury were told that 
if they did not duly observe Saint Dunstan s day, nothing 
prosperous would happen to them during that year, or 
they would sustain some heavy losses in their cattle or 
estates. Anglia Sacra, ii. 231. 

(8) Maria a Lapide. 

I have translated apud Rauracos "at Basle," but 
have been unable to ascertain whether the church re 
ferred to was in that city itself, or somewhere in the 
neighbouring country. 

(9) The epitaph of Beda. 

This alludes to a story which seems to have been in 
vented to account for the unusual epithet veneraUlis 
being attributed to Beda, instead of the more usual one 
of sanctus. It is as follows : When, after the death of 
the learned Anglo-Saxon, one of his scholars was endea 
vouring to compose an epitaph upon him in a single leo 
nine verse, he began, Hac sunt in fossa, and would have 
concluded with Bedce sancti or presbyteri ossa, but 
could not manage the metre, no other word occurring to 

80 NOTES. 

him ; so that at last he went weary to bed. And 
behold ! in the morning he found engraved on the tomb 
by the hands of an angel 

Hac sunt in fossa Bedse Venerabilis ossa. 

The inscription which was visible in the time of Erasmus 
on the shrine of Beda in the abbey church of Durham, 
and which is historically known to have been inscribed 
by Bishop Pudsey at the beginning of the twelfth 
century, commenced in like manner, and consisted of 
these four lines 

Continet haec theca Bedae Venerabilis ossa. 
Sensum factori Christus dedit, aesque datori : 
Petrus opus fecit, praesul dedit hoc Hugo donum ; 
Sic in utroque suum veneratus utrumque patronum. 

(10) The scroll brought to Saint Giles. 

Saint Giles was abbat of Aries in Provence, in the 
time of the emperor Charlemagne ; who invited him to 
Orleans, and requested him to intercede with the Al 
mighty for the pardon of his sins. The saint was per 
forming this office, when an angel appeared, and laid 
upon the altar a scroll thus inscribed, 

Egidii merito Caroli peccata remitto. 

NOTES. 8 1 

(11) Stones which conceal nothing. 

The Dutch annotators of Erasmus say that he here 
alludes to the Lapis Lydius, or touchstone used for test 
ing metals : but an Englishman will think of his own 
proverb, Stone walls have ears. 

2) Paul carries a sword. 

The conceit of Erasmus in this passage, that the saints 
might turn their instruments of martyrdom into weapons 
of defence, was anticipated, so far as Saint Paul is con 
cerned, in the motto of a very elegant monastic seal, 
which represents a kneeling monk, holding the banner of 
the Church of London, charged with a figure of Saint 
Paul, bearing his sword drawn. This motto is derived from 


(13) Saint William. 

We had in England a saint of this name at York, who 
was one of the early archbishops ; and another at Nor 
wich, a boy said to have been martyred by the Jews ; 
but the saint to whom Erasmus alludes was a count of 
Aquitaine, one of the most distinguished commanders 

82 NOTES. 

under Charlemagne, who in his latter days, in the year 
806, retired into a monastery which he had founded near 
Lyons. Hence the combination in his costume of the 
warrior and the monk. 

(14) Saint Anthony hath his sacred fire. 

This alludes to the disease now known as erysipelas. 
Mr. Pettigrew, in his interesting work on Medical Super 
stitions, 8vo. 1844, remarks that, " Bollandus gives an 
account of many miracles wrought by the intercession 
of Saint Anthony, particularly in the distemper called 
sacred fire, which since his time has been called Saint 
Anthony s fire ; it having miraculously ceased through 
his patronage when raging violently in many parts of 
Europe in the eleventh century." 

(15) Situation of Walsingham. 

The words of the original are, " Ad extremum Angliae 
finem, inter Occidentem et Septemtrionem, haud procul 
a mari, passuum fere tribus millibus : " a description 
which certainly is far from accurate, and which would be 
enough to puzzle any commentator, if it was not ascer 
tained from so many other proofs that Walsingham is 
intended. There is, indeed, a note in the Dutch editions 

NOTES. 83 

of the Colloquies, the writer of which was so far misled 
as to suppose the Virgo Parathalassia was " Saint 
Maries," near Falmouth, in Cornwall (an evident con 
fusion with Saint Mawe s). Even as respects the dis 
tance of Walsingham from the sea, Erasmus had not 
preserved an accurate recollection. It is about seven 
miles from the town of Wells, the nearest port, and 
eight from the sea; but most of the pilgrims coming 
by sea would probably land at Lynn, at a distance of 
twenty-seven miles. 

(16) It is a town maintained by scarcely anything else 
but the number of its visitors. 

There is a remarkable similarity between this passage 
of Erasmus and the description given by Mr. Russel of 
Mariazell, in Styria, the modern focus of Austrian pil 
grimage. The town," says that traveller, is small 
and mean-looking ; it consists, in fact, principally of 
inns and alehouses, to accommodate the perpetual influx 
of visitors, which never ceases all the year round, except 
when snow has rendered the mountains impassable. The 
immense size of the beds in these hostelries shows at 
once to how many inconveniences the pious are willing to 
submit. The pilgrims, however, who can pretend to the 
luxury of a bed are few in number. Above all, during 
the time that the annual procession from Vienna is on 

84 NOTES. 

the spot, it is not possible that the greater part of the 
crowd can be able to find lodgings ; and, though there 
were accommodation, no small portion of them are too 
poor to pay for it. These, from necessity, and many 
others from less justifiable motives, spend the night in 
the neighbouring woods, both sexes intermingled; and 
till morning dawns they continue drinking and singing 
songs, which are anything but hymns of devotion. Fight 
ing used to be the order of the night, so long as the pro 
cession from Gratz (which likewise is always a numerous- 
one) performed its pilgrimage at the same time with that 
from Vienna. It was found necessary to put a stop to 
this public scandal, by ordering the pilgrimages to take 
place at different times." About 80 different processions 
of pilgrims proceed annually to Mariazell from different 
places in the Austrian dominions. The Vienna proces 
sion arrives on the 2nd of July ; that from Gratz on the 
12th of August; and the total number of pilgrims who 
visit the spot in one year is about 100,000. In Dr. 
Dibdin s Bibliographical Tour there are some graphic 
representations, by Mr. F. C. Lewis, of the bivouacs of 
these pilgrims on their journey. 

(17) This college has scarcely any other resources 
than from the bounty of the Virgin. 

Here Erasmus was not fully informed. The priory 

NOTES. 85 

had considerable landed property, the annual income of 
which amounted to 39 U. lls. Id. in the 26th Hen. VIII. 
whilst the offerings were as follows : In the Chapel of 
the blessed Virgin Mary, 250 . 1*. ; at the sacred Milk 
of the blessed Virgin, 2L 2s. 3d. ; in the Chapel of Saint 
Lawrence, 8/, 9 

(18) Andrew and Katharine. 

The tomb of Saint Andrew was at Constantinople : 
that of Saint Katharine at Mount Sinai "ex cujus tu- 
mulo oleum indesinenter emanat : quod cunctorum debi- 
lium membra sanat." (Petrus de Natalibus, lib. x. ca. 
cv.) The same miraculous virtues were attributed to 
the tomb of Saint Perpetuus, at Dinan in Britany ; 
and are assigned by Matthew Paris to that of Robert 
the founder of the house of Gilbertines at Knares- 

In his treatise called " Ecclesiastes," or the Preacher, 
Erasmus thus enumerates the posthumous merits of the 
saints : " Ad insequens tempus pertinent, prodigia mor 
tem consequentia, et fons salubris aquse illic exiliens ubi 
martyris caput amputatum terram contigit, aut oleum 
medicantis efficax sponte resudans e monumento, aut ad 
martyrum monumenta profligati dcmones, qua3 pro divinis 
testimoniis haberi debent." 

86 NOTES. 

(19) Mary was not buried. 

It is unknown how long the Virgin survived the cruci 
fixion of our Saviour: Epiphanius saying it was for 
twenty-four years, other writers for twelve ; whilst in the 
vision of Saint Elizabeth of Sconangia it is related that 
it was for little more than a year. This version seems to 
have been adopted to accommodate the circumstance of 
all the apostles being brought together to her death -bed. 
The same vision relates that on the fortieth day after her 
death her soul was re-united to her body, and she was 
carried up to heaven. But those who believed this cor 
poreal assumption which was not universally the case, 
Saint Jerome thinking it safer to suppose the assumption 
was only of her soul were not content without making 
it take place on the third day after death, after the proto 
type of our Lord s resurrection. The Assumption was a 
solemn festival of the Church, observed on the 15th of 

(20) The knight who was saved from his pursuer. 

An English version of this story is cited in Blome- 
field s History of Norfolk, from an old MS. which de 
scribed the wicker gate as " not past an elne hye, and 
three quarters in bredth. And a certain Norfolk knight, 
Sir Raaf Boutetourt, armed cap a pee, and on horseback, 

NOTES. 87 

being in days of old, 1314, pursued by a cruel enemy, 
and in the utmost danger of being taken, made full speed 
for this gate, and, invoking this lady for his deliverance, 
he immediately found himself and his horse within the 
close and sanctuary of the priory, in a safe asylum, and 
so foiled his enemy." 

Though it must be regretted that Blome field did not 
print the " old MS." here quoted more at full, or at least 
state where it was preserved, yet it combines with other 
proofs to show that Erasmus closely described what he 
had actually seen at Walsingham, without (as some might 
suspect) drawing upon his invention, or borrowing (as 
Fosbroke imagined) incidents from Loretto or elsewhere. 

As to the costume in which Erasmus describes the 
knight to have been represented, we must not be sur 
prised if we do not find it coincide with the date assigned 
to the occurrence ; for it was very possible that the plate 
was engraved at a period considerably later, and it is well 
known that it was the practice with the medieval artists 
to adopt the costume of their own day. Supposing the 
plate to have been engraved in the reign of Henry the 
Fourth, the knight would very likely appear with a very 
slender waist ; and even earlier, from the time when Ed 
ward the Third wore the very long beard which appears 
on his effigy in Westminster Abbey, many of his knights 
may have followed their sovereign s fashion. Of the 
bifid beard worn in the reign of Richard II. there are 
abundant examples. I have been favoured by the Rev. 

88 NOTES. 

Charles Boutell, M.A. the author of the beautifully em 
bellished volume on " Monumental Brasses and Slabs " 
recently published, with the use of the engraving which 
faces p. 1 8. It is the brass of Sir William de Tendring, 
who died in 1408, in the church of Stoke by Nayland, 

The gateway in the story may be presumed to have 
been that of which a view is here presented to the reader, 
and which, when Mr. Cotman drew it, appears to have 
had an old pair of gates, with the very wicket which 
was the supposed scene of the miracle. This is now 
altered : but the gatehouse remains, standing in the town 
street, and opposite to it was formerly a range of cooks 
shops and houses of entertainment for the pilgrims, one 
of which, when Mr. Gough visited the town in 1763, 
retained its old sign, of a drinking-pot, carved in stone. 
The head in a quatrefoil in the front of the gateway, and 
two smaller ones in the side walls, are portions of the 
original design, and intended to represent the porter and 
warders on the look-out. 

(21) The shed brought from a great distance. 

This part of the mysteries of Walsingham was directly 
parodied from the famous shrine of Loretto, which, next 
to Rome itself, was the great focus of Italian pilgrimage. 
The santissima casa of Loretto is supposed to have been 


NOTES. 89 

the scene of the Annunciation at Nazareth, first conveyed 
by angels to Tersato in Dalmatia, and thence, in 1294, 
to Loretto. It is incased with marble, but at the dis 
tance of half a yard, " the house itself," writes the Earl 
of Perth in 1695, " you see within, plain and pure, like 
our blessed Lady s condition," and around them both a 
spacious church was erected. It was in imitation of this 
that " the new work" was erected around the wooden 
chapel at Walsingham ; and if Erasmus failed at all in 
his recollections of the place, we might suppose that he 
did so in attributing to the building which stood over the 
Wells the legend which (following the Loretto proto 
type) more properly belonged to the wooden chapel 
within the Virgin s church. His account, however, is 
confirmed by the document noticed in Note 23. 

(22) Two wells, full to the brink. 

These wells still exist, lined with ashlar stone, and 
near them is what appears to have been a bath, but whe 
ther formed in the days of the canons, or since, is not 
clear. The wells are now called " The Wishing Wells," 
and the popular topographical books on Norfolk say 
"that the devotees to the Lady of Walsingham were 
taught to believe that whosoever was permitted to drink 
of these waters might obtain what they then wished for." 
But this seems rather to be a modern superstition, or 
fancy, borrowed from other well legends. 

90 NOTES. 

" The holy wells are (now) quite plain, round, and 
uncovered, and on one side of them is a square bath ; on 
the other side, a small early-English doorway." Mr. J. 
H. Parker s Architectural Notes, prepared for the Ar 
chaeological Institute of Great Britain, 1847. 

(23) The bears skin fixed to the rafters, 

In the Queries prepared for the visitors sent by 
Henry VIII. to make inquisition at Walsingham, a very 
curious document, which will be found in the Appendix, 
it is asked, " What of the house where the beere-skynne 
is ? and of the knyght ?" And they conclude with in 
quiring, " And whether the house over the welles were 
not made within tyme of remembraunce, or at the least 
wise renewed ?" Indeed it may be surmised that many of 
these queries were suggested by a perusal of Erasmus s 

(24) So much of his Blood upon earth. 

There were two legends respecting relics of the Blood 
of Christ, one that it was caught by the blessed Virgin 
and Saint John, as it flowed from his side upon the cross ; 
the other, that it was collected by Nicodemus and Joseph 
when they took down the body and placed it in the tomb. 

NOTES. 91 

As may be supposed from the expression of Erasmus, 
many churches claimed to possess portions of it, among 
which some of the best known were that of Santa 
Croce in Rome, the cathedral of Bruges in Belgium, 
and the abbey of Fescamp in Normandy. In England it 
was the boast of Glastonbury, of Westminster, of Hailes 
in Gloucestershire, and of Ashridge in Buckinghamshire. 
At the first of these, it formed an accessory to the reli 
gious romance of Joseph of Arimathea, the fabulous 
founder of Glastonbury, who was said to have brought 
into Britain two silver vessels filled with the Saviour s 
blood, which, by his order, were buried in his tomb. 
The blood at Westminster was sent to king Henry the 
Second by the Master of the Temple at Jerusalem, at 
tested by the seal of the Patriarch ; and Matthew Paris 
relates that in 1249 the king summoned his nobles and 
prelates to celebrate the feast of Saint Edward in Saint 
Peter s church, pro venerations sancti Sanguinis 
Christi nuper adepti. The relics at Hailes and at 
Ashridge were originally one, obtained from Germany by 
Edmund earl of Cornwall, who when a boy with the 
king his father (Richard king of the Romans, the 
younger son of king John) noticed it among the im 
perial treasures, it having been originally brought by 
Charlemagne from Greece. It was a portion only however 
of the German relic that was acquired by the earl ; and 
this he brought to England in a vessel of gold, which 
he offered in person at the altar of the monastery which 

92 NOTES. 

his father had founded at Hailes, near Winchcombe. 
Afterwards founding on his own part the college of Bon- 
hommes at Ashridge, near his manor of Berkhampstead, 
in Hertfordshire, they acquired of his gift another por 
tion of the same relic. Indeed they claimed to have two- 
thirds of the quantity which the earl had brought from 
Germany, whilst only one-third was left at Hailes : yet 
the latter place was the most famous in England for this 
particular object of superstitious veneration, and Chaucer 
in his Pardoner s Tale mentions as among " outrageous 

By Goddes precious herte, and by his nailes, 
And by the blood of Crist that is in Hailes. 

The ecclesiastical historians of the party of the Refor 
mation have generally recounted a story of the Blood of 
Hailes that it was discovered to be duck s blood, which 
was renewed every Saturday. This is derived from a 
statement written by William Thomas, Clerk of the 
Council to Edward VI. ; but a different account is fur 
nished by the commissioners sent purposely to examine 
the supposed relic in the 30th Hen. VIII. They de 
scribe it as having been " inclosed within a rownde 
vesalle, garnyssid and bownd on every syde with sylver," 
and the relic itself to be an unctuowse gumme co- 
louryd," which when in the glass appeared to be a glis 
tening red like blood, but when removed was yellow, 
like amber or base gold, "and doth cleve-to, as gumme 

NOTES. 93 

or byrdlyme." " Upon the faith of this report, the 
bishop of Rochester (John Kelsey) preached at Paules 
crosse, Nov. 24, 1538, and there showed the bloud of 
Hailes, and affirmed the same to be no bloud, but honie 
clarified, and coloured with saffron, as had beene evidentlie 
proved before the king and his council." (Holinshed.) 
The commissioners certificate is printed by Hearne at 
the end of his edition of Benedictus Abbas Petrob. 8vo. 
1735, p. 751, with fac-similes of the seals arid signatures 
of the commissioners, (who were Hugh Latimer, bishop 
of Worcester, the prior of Worcester, the abbot of 
Hayles, and Richard Tracy, esq.) and accompanied by 
an historical dissertation by the Rev. George Coningesby. 
See also further on this subject in Todd s History of 
the College of Ashridge, folio, 1823, and Wright s 
Letters on the Suppression of the Monasteries, p. 237. 

(25) Our Lord s cross. 

Scarcely any inventory of relics is preserved which 
does riot include portions of the True Cross : and few 
churches of importance, or pious persons of wealth, would 
be deficient in this very favourite object of devotion. 
The majority of its possessors were probably unconscious 
of the circumstance that their good fortune was shared 
by so many others ; but if such an objection was ever 
forced upon their notice, it was answered in the manner 

94 NOTES. 

hinted at by Erasmus, that the wood itself, like the 
widow s cruise, possessed miraculous powers of self- 
multiplication.* At Bury were "peces of the holie 
crosse able to make a hole crosse of."f 

A very voluminous legend was fabricated as the His 
tory of the Holy Cross, which will be found in the Le- 
genda Aurea of Jos. de Voragine, and in several distinct 
books. Among others, there is a Dutch edition of 1483, 
with 64 woodcuts, the text of which is reprinted in Dib- 
din s Bibliotheca Spenceriana, vol. iii. pp. 348-377, with 
a poetical translation by Mr. R. W. Wade. In this re 
ligious romance the existence and adventures of the True 
Cross were not only traced downwards from the Cruci 
fixion, but upwards as a beam and a tree to the creation 
of the world. Seth, the son of Adam, is related to have 
repaired, by direction of his father, to the gate of Para 
dise ; where the guardian angel, having allowed him a 
hasty glance at the wonders of the garden, placed in his 
hand three seeds from the Tree of Life, and directed 
him to deposit them in the mouth and nostrils of Adam, 

* What Erasmus has said of the True Cross has passed almost 
into a proverbial expression. A favourite American writer of our 
own times, in describing the fabricated relics of a shrine of modern 
idolatry, says, "There was an ample supply also of Shakspere s mul 
berry-tree, which seems to have as extraordinary powers of self- 
multiplication as the wood of the True Cross, of which there is 
enough extant to build a ship of the line." Washington Irving s 
Visit to Stratford-upon-Avon. 

f Wright s Letters on Suppression of the Monasteries, p. 85. 

NOTES. 95 

when laid in his grave. From these seeds arose a tree, 
which was cut down for the construction of the Temple 
of Jerusalem; but, like the " corner-stone" of Scripture, 
it was eventually rejected by the builders. The story 
then proceeds, that the Queen of Sheba took notice of 
this timber, and prophetically announced that it would be 
the wood whereon He should hang through whose death 
the kingdom of the Jews would be brought to an end. 
The discovery of the Cross by the empress Helena is re 
lated to have taken place shortly after the signal victory 
which her son Constantine obtained, under its tutelar 
influence, over his rival Mexentius. It was dug up from 
Mount Calvary. The feast of the Invention (or dis 
covery) of the Holy Cross was observed throughout 
Christendom on the 3rd of May ; and on the 14th of 
September there was another, called the Exaltation of the 
Holy Cross, which commemorated its being brought back 
in triumph to Jerusalem by the Emperor Heraclius, after 
it had been for some time in the possession of the 
Persians. A curious series of fresco paintings, repre 
senting the history of the Cross, was discovered in 1804 
on the walls of a chapel at Stratford-upon-Avon, which 
had belonged to the town guild, named of the Holy 
Cross ; and they were engraved by the late Thomas 
Fisher, F.S.A. in a volume completed in folio, 1838, 
with letter- press by the present writer. 

King Henry the Seventh bequeathed by his will to the 
altar which was to be made within the grate of his tomb 

96 NOTES. 

" our grete pece of the holie Crosse, which by the high 
provision of our Lord God was conveied, brought, and de 
livered to us from the Isle of Cyo in Grece, set in gold, 
and garnished with perles and precious stones ; and also 
the preciouse relique of oon of the leggs of Saint George, 
set in silver parcell gilte, which came to the hands of our 
broder and cousyn Lewys of Fraunce the tyme that he 
wonn and recovered the citie of Millein, and given and 
sent to us by our cousyne the cardenel of Amboys, legate 
of Fraunce ; the which pece of the holie Crosse, and leg 
of Saincte George, we wol bee set upon the saide aulter, 
for the garnisshing of the same upon al principal and so- 
lempne festes, and al other festes, after the discrecion of 
our chauntery preists singing for us at the same aulter." 

(26) Some pilgrims neither pure nor chaste. 

The justice of this stigma upon pilgrimages is con 
firmed by numberless authorities, ancient and modern. 
The following passage is quite coincident with the cen 
sures of Erasmus : " Friar Donald preached at Paules 
Crosse that our Ladie was a virgin, and yet at her pil 
grimages there was made many a foule meeting ; and loud 
cried out, Ye men of London, gang on yourselves with 
your wives to Wilsdon,* in the divel s name, or else 

* Wilsdon, on the road to Edgeware, a short suburban pilgri 

NOTES. 97 

keepe them at home with you, with a sorrow." (Cam- 
den s Remaines, p. 281.) There are some graphic 
sketches of these characteristic evils of pilgrimages in 
the discussion between archbishop Arundell and Thorpe 
the Lollard in the Introduction to the present volume. 

(27) Robert Aldrich. 

The companion and interpreter of Erasmus at Wal- 
singham was subsequently Bishop of Carlisle. Robert 
Aldrich, a native of Burnham in Buckinghamshire, was 
a scholar of Eton, and elected to King s college, Cam 
bridge, in 1507. He was one of the itinerant preachers 
appointed by the university in 1523 ; and was a master 
of Eton School. He was made archdeacon of Colches 
ter in 1531, a canon of Windsor and registrar of the 
Garter in 1534, provost of Eton 1536, and bishop of 
Carlisle in 1.537. He died at his episcopal manor of 
Horncastle, in Lincolnshire, March 5, 1555-6. Several 
of his letters to Erasmus, and others of Erasmus to him, 
are extant. His epistolary skill was also employed by 
the university of Cambridge, to address the King : " Anno 
1527. Magistro Aldryg, pro tribus litteris missis ad 
dominum regem, 10s." He was the author of a volume 
of Epigrams ; and of some theological treatises. He is 
highly eulogized in the Encomia of Leland. 

98 NOTES. 

(28) As your Homer says. 

The line in the Iliad is this, (O. 280) 
Tap/3r/o-av, 7ra/nv e Trapa TTOCTI Kcnnre 

Their hearts with fear seemed falling to their feet. 

(29) Indulgences. 

The documents against which Erasmus directs the 
shafts of his satire in these passages, were the usual cer 
tificates procured by the custodians of local shrines, in 
order to recommend their advantages to the community. 

When king Henry the Second had offered his relic 
of the True Blood to the church of Saint Peter at West 
minster, he is said to have procured from several bishops 
indulgences to those who might visit it, amounting to six 
years and 116 days of pardon. 

In 1307, Gilbert bishop of Orkney (a suffragan of the 
see of Norwich) granted an indulgence of forty days of 
pardon to all persons of the diocese who should come in 
pilgrimage to Saint Edmund s image in the chapel at 
Hoxne in Suffolk, or who left any legacies towards re 
pairing it, or made any offerings there by themselves or 
others. Blomefield, ii. 438. 

Fac-simile engravings of eight indulgences are to be 
seen in Fisher s Paintings, &c. at Stratford-upon-Avon, 
folio, 1838. They were all granted in favour of the Guild 

NOTES. 99 

and Chapel of the Holy Cross in that town, but for 
various specific objects, and for various terms of indul 
gence. A brief enumeration of them will help to eluci 
date the views with which such documents were framed. 
They are: 1. Godfrey Giffard, bishop of Worcester, 
in 1270, for forty days, to benefactors to the hospital ; 

2. the same bishop, 1276, forty days, to those offering 
prayers in the chapel for certain parties there interred ; 

3. Rowland Jorse, archbishop of Armagh, 1312, for 
forty days, to benefactors of the chapel ; 4. Walter May- 
denstone, bishop of Worcester, 1314, for twenty days, 
with the like object ; 5. Thomas Cobham, bishop of 
Worcester, 1325, for thirty days, to contributors to the 
bell-tower ; 6. Robert de Stratford, bishop of Chiches- 
ter, 1354, for forty days, to those who should devoutly 
say the Lord s Prayer and the Angels Salutation (Ave 
Maria) for the soul of master Ralph Hatton of Strat 
ford, late bishop of London (believed to have been the 
uncle of the bishop granting this) ; 7. William Whittle- 
sey, bishop of Worcester, 1367, for forty days ; and 8 
Henry Wakefield, bishop of Worcester 1381, for forty 
days. These last two are especially remarkable as de 
pictive of the superstitious worship of the Virgin and of a 
local pilgrimage. The former grants to those who for 
the sake of pilgrimage (jperegrinationis causa), oblation, 
or devotion, should visit the image of the glorious Virgin 
Mary in the parish church of Stratford-upon-Avon. or so 
often as before that image they should five times devoutly 

H 2 

100 NOTES. 

repeat the angelic Salutation, namely, Ave Maria, in 
honour of the five chief joys of the same glorious Virgin, 
with kneeling or devout inclination of the body or head, 
forty days of pardon. The latter was issued, in nearly 
the same terms, to those who should contribute to the 
ornaments of the Virgin s altar, or to its lights, or should 
repeat her Salutation five times. 

An indulgence for the church of Allhallows Barking, 
in London, is printed at length in Newcourt s Reper- 
torium ; and a long catalogue of indulgences granted to 
contributors to the fabric of the church of Durham forms 
an Appendix (pp. 129 138) to the Rites, &c. of Dur 
ham, published by the Surtees Society in 1842. 

(30) Saint Bernard. 

Saint Bernard (born in the year 1090) rendered his 
name famous as the founder of the Cistercian order, and 
as the author of many homilies, discourses, and epistles. 
Erasmus, in his Ratio Verse Theologies, censures Saint 
Bernard for too freely borrowing the phraseology of 
Scripture ; a fault common to the early monastic 
writers, who adapted or rather perverted it to common 
place topics or even to jocose allusions.* He was the 

* " Sunt qui ludunt verbis Scriptures divinae, ac veluti fit in 
contonibus poetarum, ad alienum sensum ceu per joeum abutun- 

NOTES. 101 

son of a knight in Burgundy, and of a mother distin 
guished for her piety, who is related to have dreamed 
before his birth that she was pregnant of a beautifully 
white barking whelp, which was interpreted to the effect 
that he would become an excellent preacher. The pro 
digy to which Erasmus alludes in the text has not been 
discovered by the Editor : though he has consulted the 
last and best life of Saint Bernard, written by Dr. Nean- 
der, of which there is an English translation by Miss 

(31) Votive inscription. 

The inscription left by Erasmus at Walsingham in 
the year 1511, (as then mentioned by him in a let 
ter to Ammonius, which has been noticed in the In 
troduction,) occurs in his Works, collected by Fro- 
benius, in fol. Basil. 1540, torn. v. p. 1109, as follows. 

tur. Quod aliquoties facit divus Bernardus, venuste magis quam 
graviter, meo quidem judicio. Sic enira imbiberat vir ille sacras 
literas, ut nusquam non occursarent. Nam quod hodie quidam, 
si quando festivi student videri, verba mystica depravant ad jocos 
scurriles, non solum indoctum est, verum etiam impium, et sup- 
plicio dignum." This style of writing will be found strongly exem 
plified in the Chronicle of Jocelin of Brakelond, and in the Latin 
poetry attributed to Walter Mapes, two of the publications of the 
Camden Society. 

102 NOTES. 

The original Latin title is wanting ; but the appearance 
of the inscription itself in capital letters is here restored. 

Des. Erasmi Roterodami carmen lambicum^ ex voto 
dicatum Virgini Walsingamicce apud Britannos. 


Which may be thus translated, 

Hail ! Jesu s Mother, blessed evermore, 
Alone of women God-bearing and Virgin, 
Others may offer to thee various gifts, 
This man his gold, that man again his silver, 
A third adorn thy shrine with precious stones : 
For which some ask a guerdon of good-health, 
Some riches ; others hope that by thy aid 


NOTES. 103 

They soon may bear a father s honour d name, 
Or gain the years of Pylus reverend sage. 
But the poor poet, for his well-meant song, 
Bringing these verses only, all he has, 
Asks in reward for his most humble gift 
That greatest blessing, piety of heart, 
And free remission of his many sins. 


(32) The expensive mitre and staff. 

This alludes to the cost which was attendant upon the 
process of procuring, from the papal see, exempt juris 
dictions for the great abbeys, and by which their superiors 
were elevated to the dignity of mitred prelates. 

(33) So many angels attend Tier at her hands and feet. 

It was usual to exhibit the Virgin surrounded with 
angels, particularly in representations of her Assumption, 
of which an example is given in the annexed seal of Eton 
College, made in the reign of Edward the Fourth, whose 
arms thereon are placed between his usual supporters, 
two lions. 

In the Coronation of the Virgin she was also repre 
sented surrounded with angels, two of which bring down 

104 NOTES. 

a crown for her head. Others hold censers, and others 
lighted candles. 

(34) The beam on which the Virgin had rested. 

The particular legend here referred to is not known to 
the present Editor ; but several similar stories are cur 
rent. In Spain the Virgin came down to Zaragoza to 
visit Saint lago, and that city claimed on that ground 
the supremacy of Arragon. So Toledo owes its eleva 
tion in Castile to the like compliment paid to Saint Ilde- 
fonso ; and the slab on which she there alighted is en 
cased in red marble, and railed off, with this inscription, 
" Adorabimus in loco ubi steterunt pedes ejus." (See 
the Handbook of Spain, p. 485.) 

(35) Saint Christopher at Paris. 

There were few images more frequent in churches 
than those of Saint Christopher, if we may judge from 
the number of paintings of this subject which are still 
discovered from time to time in our own churches, among 
which has beeu one in Becket s Crown at the eastern 
termination of Canterbury Cathedral. 

The figure of Christopher, carrying the infant Saviour 
across the stream of a river, is supposed to have been 

NOTES. 105 

symbolical of the whole Christian profession : besides 
which, the personification was accounted the patron of" 
fishing, hunting, and country sports, which of course 
made him a very popular saint. 

Erasmus has again introduced the gigantic Christo 
pher of the church of Notre Dame at Paris in his 
colloquy called " The Shipwreck," when describing the 
religious vows made by the passengers in their distress 

Anthony. Did no one think of Christopher ? 

AdolpJius. I heard one, and could not help smiling, 
who with a shout, lest he should not be heard, promised 
to Christopher who dwells in the great church at Paris, 
and is a mountain rather than a statue, a wax image as 
great as himself. He had repeated this more than once, 
bellowing as loud as he could, when the man who hap 
pened to be next to him, and knew him, touched him with 
his finger, and hinted, " You could not pay that, even if 
you set all your goods to auction." Then the other, in 
a voice now low enough, that Christopher might not 
hear him, whispered, " Be still, you fool ! Do you fancy 
I am speaking in earnest ? If I once touch the shore I 
shall not give him a tallow candle." 

Anthony. Oh the blockhead! I suppose he was 
some Dutchman. 

Adolphus. No : but he was a Zealander. 

This colossal figure stood near the western entrance 
of the church of Notre Dame, against the second pillar, 
and opposite to it, against another pillar, was the effigy 

106 NOTES. 

of a knight on his knees, on a platform which bore this 
inscription : 

" C est la representation de noble homme messire An- 
toine des Essars chevalier, jadis sieur de Thieure et de 
Glatigny au Val de Galie, conseiller et chambellan du 
roy nostre sire Charles sixiesme de ce nom : lequel che 
valier fist faire ce grand image en 1 honneur et remem 
brance de monsieur sainct Christophle en Tan 1413. 
Priez dieu pour son anie." 

This extraordinary monument is said to have been 
erected in remembrance of the deliverance of Antoine des 
Essars, who, having been arrested with his brother the 
Surintendant des Finances, who was beheaded, dreamed 
that the giant saint came to his prison window, broke 
the bars, and carried him off in his arms. He was 
declared innocent a few days after. 

In a Latin poem entitled Lutecia, written by maistre 
Raoul Boteray, Avocat au Grand Conseil, the statue is 
thus described : 

Ecce sub ingressu, primisque in faucibus sedis, 
Moles gigantea sese ingredientibus offert 
Portitor immanis Christi, frons torva, trucesque 
Illi oculi, et vasto grandes in corpore setae, 
Atque humeri ingentes, admirandique lacerti, 
Instar mentis enim est Christum ilia ferentis imago, 
Quam stupet aspectu primo novus advena in urbem. 
Fert manus annosum nodoso cortice quercum, 
Qua saliat undas, qua rapidos secat arduus amnes, 
Proeruptae rupis dorso connixus inhseret. 
This wooden giant was removed in 1785. 

NOTES. 107 

An image of Saint Christopher was deemed a charm 
against sudden death. Erasmus, when discoursing on 
this subject, says, " Horrendum est male mori, non 
subito. Atque hie superstitiosus mortalium timor sibi 
vana fingit remedia, simulacrum Christophori, certas 
preculas ad Virginem matrem, voces ac notulas quasdem 
magicis non dissimiles." Epist. 671, ad Jod. Gaverum. 

In his Praise of Folly, Erasmus again alludes to this 
superstition ; if a person, he says, paid his devotion to 
Saint Christopher early in the morning, it was believed 
he would be safe from death during that day ; and in 
his Colloquy on a Soldier s Life, he mentions that 
soldiers used to draw a figure of Christopher with char 
coal upon the cloth of their tents, no doubt with the like 
idea of its protective influence. 

(36) The French have named it a toad-stone. 

The word alluded to is crepaudine, which has been 
used in several senses : that which seems to answer 
nearest to the present passage is : "A kind of stone which 
was formerly supposed to be found in the head of a toad, 
and which is the tooth or palate of a fish petrified." 
Dictionnaire de 1 Academic Frangaise, 1835. But still 
this does not correspond with the " pellucid " stone 
described by Erasmus. 

108 NOTES. 

(37) The gold and silver statues. 

No catalogue of these treasures is known to be now in 
existence ; but we have testamentary record of two of the 
most remarkable. Bartholomew lord Burghersh, K.G., 
by his will, made in 1369, ordered a statue of himself on 
horseback to be made in silver, and offered to our Lady 
of Walsingham ; and King Henry VII. in his lifetime 
had given a kneeling figure of himself, which is thus 
alluded to in his will : 

" Also, if it be not perfourmed by our self in our life, 
we wol that our executours cause an ymage of silver and 
gilt, of like facion and weight as is the ymage that we 
have caused to be made to be offred and sette before our 
Lady at Walsingham, to be made, with this scripture, 
J!?ancte tf>oma, intercede pro me. The same ymage for a 
perpetuall memorie to bee made offred, and sette before 
Saincte Thomas of Canterbury, in the metropolitan 
churche of Canterbury, in suche place as by us in our 
life, or by our executours after oure deceasse, shall be 
thought mooste convenient and honourable, and as nighe 
to the Shrine of Saint Thomas as wel may bee : And 
that upon booth the sides of the table whereupon our said 
ymage shall knele be made a brode border, and in the 
same graven and written with large letters, blake ena 
meled, theis words, REX HENRICUS SEPTIMUS." 

The " fashion" of this kneeling effigy, the more parti 
cular description of which is dispensed with by the re- 

NOTES. 109 

ference to that at Walsingham, is probably supplied by a 
preceding bequest made in the same will to the Shrine of 
Saint Edward at Westminster : 

" Also we wol, that our executours, yf it be not doon 
by our selfe in our life, cause to be made an ymage of a 
king, representing our owen persone, the same ymage to 
be of tymber, covered and wrought accordingly with 
plate of fyne gold, in maner of an armed man, and upon 
the same armour a coote-armour of our armes of Eng 
land and of France enameled, with a sword and spurres 
accordingly ; and the same ymage to knele upon a table 
of silver and gilte, and holding betwixt his hands the 
crowne which it pleased God to geve us with the victorie 
of our ennemye at our first felde : the which ymage and 
crowne [apparently the identical crown placed on Henry s 
head at Bosworth field,] we geve and bequethe to Al 
mighty God, our blessed Lady Saint Mary, and Saint 
Edward King and Confessour ; and the same ymage and 
crowne, in the fourme afore-rehersed, we wol be set upon 
and in the mydds of the creste of the Shryne of Saint 
Edward king, in suche a place as by us in our life, or by 
our executours after our deceasse, shall be thought moost 
convenient and honorable : And we wol that our said 
ymage be above the kne of the hight of thre fote, soo that 
the hede and half the breste of our said ymage may 
clierly appere above and over the said crowne ; and that 
upon booth sides of the said table be a convenient brode 
border, and in the same be graven and written with large 

110 NOTES. 

letters, blake-enameled, theis words, REX HENRICUS 

(38) Now called Saint Thomas s. 

This was a slight misapprehension on the part of 
Erasmus ; but some other authors have adopted it, and 
among them archbishop Parker, in the Lives of his pre 
decessors (art. Becket). The shrine of Saint Thomas 
was, indeed, by far the principal object of devotion at 
Canterbury ; * and Professor Willis remarks, " There 
is some ground for supposing that the chapel which was 
erected on the site of that of the Holy Trinity was 
dedicated to Saint Thomas, for it was always called the 
Chapel of St. Thomas. Gervase so designates it, and it is 
even so described in Hollar s plan. Now, however, it 
has resumed its ancient title of the Trinity Chapel." 
But the dedication of the cathedral at large was to Christ, 
and by that name it has been constantly designated at all 
periods of its history. 

Camden, in his Britannia, while following the descrip 
tion of Erasmus, silently corrected this error. He says 

* For this we have the authority of Cardinal Morton, that the 
oblations made yearly to the shrine of Saint Thomas amounted on 
an average to 800Z. or 1000L ; those to our Lady to 200J. ; those 
to Christ sometimes to five marks, sometimes to twelve marks, hoc 
anno nihil. Appeal, &c. 


of the city, " Sacrarum vero aedium magnifica structura 
et frequentia celeberrimas quasque superavit. Inter has 
duse maxime enituerunt, Christ! scilicet et S. Augustini, 
utrumque Benedictinis monachis oppletum. Christi tern- 
plum, in medio quasi urbis sinu, tanta majestate se in 
ccelum erigit, ut procul etiam intuentibus religionem 
incutiat" The latter passages are copied, word for 
word, from the " Peregrinatio Religionis Ergo." 

(39) Tuscus, Fuscus, and Berrus. 

These are not much like the real names of the reputed 
assassins of Becket, who were four in number, William 
de Tracy, Reginald FitzUrse, Hugh de Morville, and 
Richard Brito ; and of whom some notice will be found, 
combined with the account of the Murder given in the 
Appendix. Hasted supposes that the statues mentioned 
by Erasmus stood in the four niches still remaining over 
the doorway of the South Porch of the cathedral. (His 
tory of Kent, fol. 1799, iv. 519.) This porch was 
erected towards the close of the fourteenth century. 

(40) Books fixed to the pillars. 

This was a practice customary both before and since 
the invention of printing. A remarkable inscription still 

112 NOTES. 

remains in Saint George s chapel, Windsor, opposite the 
monument of Richard Beauchamp, bishop of Salisbury, 
who died in 1482, recording such a benefaction : 

" Who lyde this Booke here ? The Reverend Fader 
in God Richard Beauchamp, Bischop of this Diocess 
of Sarysbury. And wherefore ? To this intent, that 
Preestes and Ministers of Goddis Chirch may here have 
the occupacion thereof, seyyng therein theyr divyne ser- 
vyse, and for all othir that lystyn to sey thereby ther 
devocyon. Askyth he any spiritual mede ? Yee, as- 
moche as oure Lord lyst to reward hym for his goode 
intent ; praying every man, whose dute or devocyon is 
eased by thys booke, they woll say for hym thys com 
mune oryson, Domine Jesu Christe, knelyng in the 
presence of this holy crosse, for the wyche the Reverend 
Fadir in God aboveseyd hathe grauntid of the tresure of 
the Chirche to every man xl. dayys of pardon." 

It is well known that, after the Reformation, it was 
usual to fix the printed Bible, the Homilies, and other 
books in churches : but further information on this sub 
ject than had previously been collected will be found in 
an article by Mr. Daw son Turner in the Gentleman s 
Magazine for Feb. 1846, accompanying an engraving of 
the closet and desk made for Fox s Book of Martyrs in 
Lessingham church, Norfolk, 

NOTES. 113 

(41) The Gospel of Nicodemus. 

The spurious Gospel of Nicodemus, which Erasmus 
suggests was preferred at Canterbury to those of the 
Evangelists, had been printed at London by Wynkyn de 
Worde in 1509, with woodcuts (see Typographical 
Antiquities, by Dibdin, vol. ii. p. 144). For the da.tes 
of other editions, see Watt s Bibliotheca and Lowndes s 
Bibliographer s Manual. 

(42) Altar of the Virgin. 

" There the pious man is said to have breathed his 
last farewell to the Virgin when his death was at hand," 
was the story told to Erasmus ; and, from the usual pic 
tures of the saint s martyrdom, it was no doubt supposed 
that his death took place at the foot of an altar. But 
in truth the altar was erected after the catastrophe, as is 
clearly stated by the historian Gervase, who describes the 
spot where the holy Thomas fell as being in front of the 
solid wall, which is shaded in the accompanying Plan, at 
the entrance to the north transept (afterwards called 
The Martyrdom). Gervase adds, " The pillar which 
stood in the midst of this cross, (or entrance to the 
transept,) as well as the vault which rested on it, were 
taken down in process of time, out of respect for the 
martyr, that the altar, elevated on the place of the 
martyrdom, might be seen from a greater distance." 

114 NOTES. 

" A stone (remarks Professor Willis) is still pointed 
out on the pavement, which tradition assigns as the exact 
spot on which Becket fell : a small piece has been cut 
out of it, which is said to be still preserved at Rome. In 
some of the monastic representations of Becket s fall he 
is slain at the very foot of an altar, but this is only intro 
duced to heighten the sacrilege. The altar [described 
by Erasmus, and shown in the Plan,] was erected after 
wards, and the nearest altar was that of Saint Benedict 
[in the centre of the ancient apse*]. Thus, comparing 
representations of this murder on the seals of the arch 
bishops, that of Boniface, 1259, has no altar; on the 
seal of Robert, 1273, the altar is in the background, and 
Becket has his back to it ; on the seal of John Peckham, 
1278, the altar again disappears; but in the seal of John 
Stratford the victim kneels at the altar with his back to 
his assailants, and this position is retained in the seals of 
Islip, Langton, and Arundel." At the moment when 
Becket was encountered by the king s knights, he had 
just crossed the north transept from the door leading 
from the cloisters, and was mounting the steps towards 
the choir, in which the monks were then performing 
their vespers. He turned round to confront his enemies, 
and after an altercation, which is fully described by the 
chronicler, was struck and fell on the spot. The scene 

* The apse, which is shaded in the Plan, was removed in 1449, 
and in its place was erected the Lady Chapel, which still remains. 


NOTES. 115 

of this great event in the annals of Canterbury was after 
wards walled off, in the manner shewn in the Plan, and 
called THE MARTYRDOM, the following verses being 
inscribed on the door of entrance : 

" Est sacer intra locus venerabilis atque beatus 
Presul ubi sanctus Thomas est martyrizatus." 

This partition was removed in 1734, in consequence of 
its foundations having given way from interments. 

The espousals of king Edward the First with Mar 
garet of France were solemnized by archbishop Robert 
on the 9th Sept. 1299, at the cloister-door near the door 
of the Martyrdom. 

(43) The point of the sword. 

The sword of Richard Brito, one of the murderers, 
supposed to have been that which inflicted the fatal blow, 
was fractured on the spot by striking against the pave 
ment ; and the monks consequently preserved the piece 
broken off, as an object of veneration, and a source of 
profit. In the account of the cofferer of Queen Philippa, 
25 Edw. III. after an offering of 40s. made to Saint 
Thomas s shrine, is an entry of 5s. offered ad punctum 
ensis. Prince Edmund offered I2d. at the shrine, 12c?. 
ad punctum ensis, and I2d. at the head of Saint Tho 
mas ; and the countess of Ulster 5s. at the shrine, and 1 2d. 
ad punctum ensis. (Pegge s Beauchief Abbey, p. 6.) 
I 2 

116 NOTES. 

It is also mentioned in the will of the Black Prince, 
dated 1376, in which he directs certain tapestry which 
he left to the church of Canterbury to be distributed 
between the high altar, the altar where Monsieur Saint 
Thomas lies, the altar where the head is, and the altar 
where the point of the sword is ; and, if there was still to 
spare, the rest about his own tomb. This tapestry was 
a " hall," or entire suit, that is to say, a dossier, eight 
side pieces, and two bench-pieces, worked with white 
ostrich-feathers on a black ground, and having red 
borders, ornamented with swans having lady s heads. 

In the horrid circumstance of the martyr s brain being 
" stirred " by one of the assassins, Erasmus has followed 
the historical narratives of the murder. 

(44) The Crypt, or Undercroft. 

The crypt, says Erasmus, " had its own priests." 
There were several chantry chapels in it ; one of which 
was founded by the Black Prince in 1363, in the south 
transept, (endowed with the manor of Vauxhall at Lam 
beth, still belonging to the church of Canterbury,) and 
which became in the reign of Elizabeth the church of 
the French Protestant refugees. But the principal feature 
of the crypt was the chapel of the Virgin in its centre, 
immediately beneath the high altar of the church. 

NOTES. 117 

Though now in great decay, it has vestiges of its an 
cient magnificence, particularly the stone screen-work. 

The Black Prince in his will desired to be buried " en 
1 eglise cathedrale de la Trinite de Canterbire, ou le corps 
du veray martir monsire seint Thomas repose, en mylieu 
de la chapelle de Notre Dame Undercrofte, droitement 
devant 1 autier, siqe le bout de notre tombe devers les 
pees soit dix peez loinz de 1 autier : " but from these 
directions the executors afterwards thought proper to 
deviate, erecting the prince s tomb on the upper floor of 
the church in the chapel of Saint Thomas, immediately 
to the south of his shrine. 

In 1395 Lady Mohun of Dunstar founded a perpetual 
chantry in the Undercroft, and her monument forms 
part of the screen of the Lady Chapel. There is another 
monument of Isabel, countess of Athol. 

Subsequently, archbishop Morton, who died in 1500, 
desired by his will to be buried " coram imagine 
beatissimae Virginis Marise vulgariter nuncupata Our 
Lady of Undercroft" and a chantry of two priests 
was established at his tomb. He had a magnificent 
brass on the pavement, the outlines of which are shown 
in Dart s view of the Chapel ; and a monumental effigy, 
which still remains. 

The body of Becket was buried the day after his 
death in the undercroft of the Trinity Chapel, which was 
then the easternmost portion of the cathedral (see the 
spotdenoted by fig. 24 in the Plan at p. 39 of Professor 

118 NOTES. 

Willis s Architectural History). It remained there for 
fifty years, at which time, the church having been con 
siderably lengthened, it was translated to the shrine in 
the upper church on the 7th July 1220. In that shrine 
it reposed only a few feet further towards the east than 
it had done in the crypt. 

(45) The perforated skull of the martyr. 

This was usually known as Saint Thomas s head ; 
which formed a separate exhibition in the reign of Ed 
ward the Third (see Note 43) and so continued until 
the last. It seems to have been exhibited on a square 
table, together with bones, as shown in the annexed 
engraving, which is copied from the same page of a 
Cottonian manuscript as the shrine described hereafter. 
There was an explanation adjoining the sketch, which is 
now nearly burnt away, (the volume having been injured 
in the fire of the Cottonian collection,) but from the 
Latin translation given on Dugdale s engraving of this 
subject it seems to have been to the effect that this was 
an iron table, on which the bones of the martyr were 
displayed, together with his scull, showing the spot where 
death was inflicted. 

The following account of a visit paid to Canterbury 
in the year 1538, by a Frenchwoman, " the lady of Mon- 


NOTES. 119 

treill," when on her return from the court of Scotland,* 
may be here introduced : 

" By ten of the cloc, she, her gen til women, and the said 
ambassadour [of France,] whent to the church, where I 
showed her Saincte Thomas shryne, and all such other 
thinges worthy of sight ; at the which she was not litle 
marveilled of the greate riches therof, saing it to be innu 
merable, and that if she had not seen it, all the men in 
the wourlde could never a made her to belyve it. Thus, 
over looking and vewing more then an owre, aswell the 
shryne as Saint Thomas hed, being at both sett cousshins 
to knyle, and the Pryour openyng Sainct Thomas hed, 
saing to her 3 tymes, f This is Saint Thomas Hed, and 
offered her to kysse ; but she nother knyled, nor would 
kysse it, but still vewing the riches therof. So she 
departed, and whent to her lodging to dinner. "f 

Before closing this Note it may be well to notice a 
popular error, into which many writers have fallen, 
arising from a confusion between Becket s head, the 
crown of which had been cut off, and Becket s crown, 
the name given to the vaulted dome, which formed the 
termination of the church, towards the east. Batteley, 
Gostling, and Ducarel, imagined the head " was pro 
bably in that part of the cathedral called Becket s 

* See State Papers, 1830, vol. i. p. 581 ; and Ellis s Original 
Letters, First Series, ii. 107. 

f William Penison to the Lord Privy Seal (Cromwell), State 
Papers, 1830, vol. i. p. 583. 

120 NOTES. 

Crown," and the misconception was as old as archbishop 
Parker.* Erasmus says plainly that it was shown him 
in the Undercroft. 


Becket s mother is said to have been a Saracen ; his 
father a citizen of London. His birth is generally stated 
to have taken place in London ; but, from his being called 
Acrensis, it would seem to have been at Acre, in the Holy 
Land. The chapel in Cheapside, London, founded by 
the Archbishop s sister, and now the Mercers Chapel, 
was generally known by the name of St. Thomas of 

The inscribed slip of lead seen by Erasmus was 
evidently such as it was usual to deposit in coffins, in 
order to identify the corpse in case it should be dis 
turbed. The grave of archbishop Richard, the imme 
diate successor of Becket, was opened in the year 1632, 

* " in quo caput ejus seorsim a cadavere situm Thomaj 

Martyris Corona appellabatur." Lives of the Archbishops, p. 209, 

t Knight, in his Life of Erasmus, p. 245, says that Becket was 
so named because he was born in the parish of St. Thomas de Acres 
in London ; a statement which is copied by Jortin, Life of Eras 
mus, p. 37. But there never was any parish so called, and the 
chapel in Cheapside was dedicated to Saint Thomas of Canterbury, 
otherwise called Saint Thomas of Acre. 

NOTES. 121 

and in it was found, together with his pastoral staff and 
a chalice, a leaden inscription. 

So, when saint Dunstan s tomb was opened in 1508, 
there was found between the two leaden coffins a small 
leaden plate lying on the breast of the body, inscribed 
with these words, literis Romanis, 


In 1830 a grave was opened in Peterborough minster, 
which was identified as that of abbat Alexander, who 
died in 1226, by a piece of lead four inches long, in 
scribed ABBAS : ALEXAN . 

(47) The hair shirts, fyc. 

Gervase, in narrating the original interment of the 
archbishop, thus describes his dress : " And, that I may 
truly relate what I saw with my eyes and handled with 
my hands, he wore next to his skin a hair shirt (cilicium)., 
then a linen one (staminium), over these the black cowl, 
then the alb in which he was consecrated, the tunic also, 
and dalmatic, the chasuble, pall, and mitre. He had 
hair drawers (femoralia ciliciaj, with linen ones over, 
woollen hose, and sandals." 

In the inventory of relics (described in the next note) 
we find that all these vestments were carefully preserved 

122 NOTES. 

until the Reformation, and of course were those which 
were exhibited to Erasmus : 

" In a great round ivory coffer, oblong- at its head, 
and rimmed with copper, are contained 

" The white mitre, with orfreys (or gold fringes), of 
Saint Thomas the Martyr, in which he was buried. 

" Item. Another white mitre of the same, which he 
used on ordinary feasts. 

" Item. His gloves, adorned with three orfreys. 

" Item. His sandals, of Inde (purple silk), em 
broidered with roses, besants, and crescents of gold, with 
strings of black samict, embroidered. 

" Item. His hair shirt. 

" Item. Part of his couch and girdle. 

" Also, in the same coffer, rolled up in a white 
diaper cloth, are contained 

" Some of the dust of the body of the blessed Thomas 
the Martyr. 

" Item. Of his hood and other vestments. 

" Item. Of his coverlid (9 co-operturaj. 

u Item. Of his cowl. 

" Item. Of the band of his hair shirt. 

" Item. Of his flesh and blood, resolutis. 

" Item. Of his girdle. 

Item. Of his hair. 

Item. Of his pillow. 

NOTES. 123 

" Also, in the same coffer, in another cloth, of silk, 
are folded up portions 

" Of the chasuble (casula) of Saint Thomas. 

" Item. Of his dalmatic. 

" Item. Of his tunic. 

" Item. Of his stamen (or linen shirt). 

" Item. Of his hood against rain. 

Item. Of cloth stained with his blood. 

" Item. Of his cowl. 

" Item. Of the kerchief of his head. \_De pallia 
capitis ejusdem.~] " 

" Item. His whip made of cords." 

Again, in another receptacle, a standing tabula, was 
another portion, De cilicio, of the hair shirt. 

There are also several other relics of the martyr in 
the course of the long inventory. Although his body 
was supposed to rest in his shrine, and his head at the 
altar assigned to it, portions of his dust or " flesh and 
blood resolved," were in various other receptacles, as well 
as in many other distant collections, for which see a note 
in the Appendix. 

In a silver gilt phylactery, or casket, adorned with 
jewels and an oblong round crystal, were portions of his 
chasuble and sandals. In a little silver gilt cup was his 
pall. In the fifth ivory coffer were portions " of the flesh, 
blood, and many other relics of the blessed Thomas the 

] 24 NOTES. 

(48) The relics. 

Erasmus says, the exhibition of the relics at Canter 
bury " seemed likely to last for ever," and we must 
acknowledge there was good ground for his apprehen 
sions when we look at the Inventory of these treasures, 
which is still in existence. It has been preserved in one 
of the cartularies of Christ Church, Canterbury, now the 
Cottonian MS. Galba E. iv., and it is printed as an 
Appendix to Dart s History of Canterbury Cathedral, 
where it occupies more than eight folio pages, and com 
prises upwards of four hundred items. 

It commences with a list of twelve bodies of saints, 
placed in different parts of the church ; and then proceeds 
to the contents of " the great armary near the high altar," 
which is that Erasmus particularly mentions. Here are 
first described three heads, those of Saint Blasius, Saint 
Fursaeus, and Saint Austroberta, each inclosed in a head 
of silver, gilt, and the two latter likewise enamelled. 
Next follow in the catalogue eleven arms of saints, 
namely, Symeon the Old, Blase, Bartholomew, George, 
Wlstan, Richard bishop of Chichester, Romanus the 
bishop, Gregory the pope, Hugh bishop of Lincoln, 
Mildred the virgin, and Edburga ; but all these were 
in like manner incased in arms of silver and gilt, so 
that scarcely any of them could have disgusted Erasmus 
or his companion in the way he describes. Possibly, 
some of the other mortal remains, such as " part of the 

NOTES. 125 

arm of Saint Jerome," or " part of the arm of Saint 
Paulinus the bishop," may have been more exposed to 

It would not be easy, in a short space, to give an ac 
curate idea of this extraordinary assemblage of holy 
curiosities. Besides the bones, the dust, the hair, the 
teeth, and other corporeal relics of the saints, there 
occur continually portions of their attire, and of other 
articles connected with their domestic history, such as 
the bed of Saint Mary, the wool which she wove, and the 
garment which she made. There were also several other 
fragments from localities in the Holy Land, such as the 
rock on which the cross of Christ stood, his sepulchre, 
his manger, the table where he supped with his disciples 
when he washed their feet, the column to which he was 
bound when he was flagellated by the cursed Jews, and 
the stone whereon he had stood when he ascended into 
Heaven. Nor were these wonders confined to the story 
of the New Testament. In the great armary was also 
Aaron s rod ; and in the fourth copper coffer was a por 
tion of the oak on which Abraham mounted that he 
might see the Lord, and even a specimen of the clay of 
which God moulded Adam ! 

The reliquaries of Canterbury were not, however, 
wholly unrivalled elsewhere. I have described in the 
Gentleman s Magazine for Nov. 1842, the Inventory of 
the abbey church of Saint Bertin at St. Omer s, made in 
the year 1465, a roll measuring 1 1 feet 8 inches in length, 

126 NOTES. 

and 12 inches in width ; and the extracts there given will 
be found to be parallel in character, and in several in 
stances identical, with those above cited. 

Inventories of the relics at Exeter, Reading, York, 
Lincoln, and Windsor, will be found in the Monasticon, 
and a list of those at Warwick in Dugdale s Warwick 

The relics in the church of Wittenburg, a collection 
which had been much increased by Frederic of Saxony, 
before Luther had opened that sovereign s eyes to their 
worthlessness, amounted to the number of 19,374, ac 
cording to an inventory of them drawn up by Spalatinus 
in the year 1523. A still more extraordinary account, 
if possible, is that given by Seckendorf of the relics and 
indulgences preserved in the church of Hall. Commen- 
tarius historicus et apologeticus de Lutherismo, lib. iii. 
p. 372. 

(49) Gratian Black. 

The Latin name in the original is Gratianus Pullus. 
That the person so designated was Dr. John Colet, Dean 
of Saint Paul s, and the founder of Saint Paul s School,* 

* Dr. Knight was not aware of the real name of the Englishman, 
when noticing the visit to Canterbury in his Life of Erasmus, p. 116 ; 

NOTES. 127 

is proved beyond doubt by a passage in the Modus 
Orandi Deum of Erasmus, in which he alludes to the 
slipper of Saint Thomas kept at Herbaldown, and to the 
linen rags shown in the cathedral, stating that he had 
seen them exhibited in company with John Colet, whose 
behaviour he describes as in the Colloquy. The passage 
is as follows : 

" In England they offer the slipper of Saint Thomas, 
formerly Bishop of Canterbury, to be kissed, which 
perhaps is the slipper of some varlet ; and, however that 
may be, what is more absurd than to worship a man s 
slipper ? I have myself, when they exhibited the torn 
linen rags, with which he is said to have wiped his nose, 
seen the Abbat and the rest who stood by, ready to 
worship when the reliquary was opened, fall upon their 
knees, and raise their hands with all the gesticulation of 
adoration. To John Colet, who was then with me, these 
things appeared offensive ; to me it seemed better to bear 
with them until an opportunity might arise to correct 
them without commotion." 

We further learn the circumstance which suggested the 
name Pullus to Erasmus, from a passage in the minute 
picture he has left of this amiable man : " Non nisi Pullis 

there calling him Grratian Pullen; nor was Dr. Jortin apprised of 
it until it was pointed out by an anonymous correspondent (acknow- 
leged in his Addenda, p. 706). Sir Roger L Estrange, in his 
translation, made the name " Gratian Pull." 

128 NOTES. 

vestibus utebatur, cum illic vulgo sacerdotes et theologi 
vestiuntur purpura :" that is, he wore only black gowns, 
though the higher ranks of the clergy in England were 
usually attired in the scarlet robes of doctors of divinity. 

But the whole of the character of Colet,* as depicted 
by Erasmus, is so highly interesting that the reader 
cannot fail to be pleased with it. 

It was written in 1520, soon after the death of its 
subject, at the request of Jodocus Jonas of Erdfurt; and 
in conjunction with the character of Jehan Vitrier, a 
Franciscan Friar at St. Omer s, who had equally attracted 
the esteem of Erasmus, and in some respects resembled 
our amiable Londoner.f 

* In the portraits of Colet he appears, not in this his ordinary 
attire, but in the proper dress of a doctor. The picture engraved 
by Vertue for Knight s Life of Colet was one which had been in 
the hands of Bishop Stillingfleet, and then belonged to Mr. John 
Worthington. Another, which Dr. Knight mentions as belonging, 
when he wrote, to Thomas Sclater Bacon, esq. was afterwards 
bought by the Rev. W. Cole " at an auction of the goods of Robert 
King, esq. heir to Mr. Bacon, at Catlep, near Lynton, July 21, 
1749. He is in a scarlet cap and gown, with his neck quite naked, 
and is like that in Holland s Heroologia and Lupton s Lives of the 
Protestant Divines. W. COLE." (M.S. note in Cole s copy of 
Knight s Life of Colet.) There is a second portrait of Colet in Dr. 
Knight s book, from a limning in a MS. at Cambridge ; it repre 
sents him in a surplice and the hood of a canon, kneeling before 
Saint Matthew. 

f Vitrier, at the recommendation of Erasmus, had paid Colet a 

NOTES. 129 

" Since you so earnestly request me, my worthy friend, 
to sketch for you a little picture of the life of John Colet, 
I will do so with the greater pleasure, because I imagine 
you are seeking for some distinguished example of excel 
lence, by which to regulate your own conduct. Truly, 
my dearest Jonas, whilst I must allow that I have asso 
ciated with many whose characters I have highly ad 
mired, yet I have never yet seen one whose conduct did 
not appear to me deficient in some quality of Christian 
piety, when I brought him into comparison with the 
purity of these two persons, with one of whom I became 
acquainted at a town of Artois called St. Omer, when the 
plague (so far happy for me) drove me from Paris to 
that town ; with the other in England, whither my regard 
for my pupil Lord Mountjoy had led me. (Erasmus 
then first draws the character of Vitrier, after which he 
proceeds as follows :) 

" And perhaps Colet is the more admirable character 
on this account, because neither the indulgence of fortune, 
nor the impulses of nature, attracting him in a far dif 
ferent direction, could divorce him from the pursuit of a 
religious life. For he was born of parents of rank and 
opulence, and that in London,* where his father had twice 

visit in England; and Colet afterwards told Erasmus that a 
Minorite had been with him, with whose judicious and pious con 
versation he had been wonderfully delighted. This is mentioned 
by Erasmus in the same letter to Jodocus Jonas. 

* Erasmus had taken up the idea, whether well founded or not, 

130 NOTES. 

filled the office of chief magistrate, there called Mayor.* 
His mother, who is still surviving, a woman of distin 
guished excellence,! had brought her husband eleven 
sons and as many daughters, of all which Colet was the 
eldest, and therefore the sole heir according to the Eng- 

that the English deemed it an especial honour to be London-born. 
In a letter to Johannes Faber he says of Sir Thomas More : " natus 
est Londini, in qua civitate, multo omnium celeberrima, natum et 
educatum esse apud Anglos nonnulla pars nobilitatis habetur." At 
a time when the civic offices were uniformly filled by merchants of 
the greatest opulence, and those offices usually led to the grade of 
knighthood, (then really a grade in society, and not a mere personal 
decoration,) it may readily be imagined that such might be the 

* Sir Henry Colet was Lord Mayor of London in 1486-7 and 
1495-6, and, dying in 1510, was buried at Stepney. 

>{" In Lady Colet we are presented with one of the many in 
stances in which the mothers of great men seem to have fashioned 
in some degree after their own virtues the excellence of their sons. 
Erasmus repeatedly speaks of her with the highest encomium, and 
recurs to her name in one of his letters written at so late a date as 
1532, as an example of having, from piety towards God, borne her 
family afflictions with such fortitude that, even in extreme old age, 
when approaching her 90th year, she was so hale in aspect, and so 
cheerful in spirit, that it might have been supposed she had never 
shed a tear nor borne a child. The society of Erasmus had made 
an equally favourable impression upon her. One of the letters of 
Colet, addressed " Erasmo suo," is dated from her house at Stepney 
thus: "Vale, ex rure Stepneiano, apud genetricem : quse adhuc 
vivit, et belle senescit, et de te ssepius hilarem et jucundam facit 

NOTES. 131 

lish law, even if they had lived, but of them all he alone 
was surviving when I first began to know him. In addi 
tion to these advantages of fortune, he possessed a person 
handsome and well-grown. Whilst still a youth in his 
native country, he had diligently perused the whole of 
the scholastic philosophy, and had attained the degree of 
Master of the Seven Liberal Arts, and there was not one of 
them in which he was not a sound and elegant proficient, 
for he had not only most eagerly devoured the books of 
Cicero, but had steadily digested the works of Plato and 
Plotinus, and left no department of mathematics un 
touched. Afterwards, as a merchant seeking after good 
things, he visited France, and then Italy. There he 
entirely devoted himself to the study of divinity. But 
having already travelled with great eagerness through 
every branch of literature, he chiefly delighted in those 
ancient fathers, Dionysius, Origen, Cyprian, Ambrose, 
and, among the rest, none did he attack oftener than 
Augustine ;* nor yet did he entirely neglect Scotus and 
Thomas (Aquinas), and the rest of that kidney, if the 
matter anywhere required it. In the books both of the 

* " Nulli erat iniquior quam Augustino," are the words of the 
original, by which Erasmus clearly meant to imply that Colet read 
Augustine more than the other Fathers; but Dr. Knight, who in 
several other places wanders considerably from the sense of the 
original, here runs directly counter to it, giving his translation 
thus, " but he had the least relish of all to S. Austin." Life of 
Colet, p. 12. 

K 2 

132 NOTES. 

canon and civil law he was not indifferently versed. 
Lastly, there was no book containing the history or the 
laws of our forefathers which he had not perused. The 
English nation has those who have done the same for 
their countrymen that Dante and Petrarch have for the 
Italians ; and, by perusing their compositions, he polished 
his language, and even thus armed himself for his efforts 
in the pulpit. 

" When he was now returned from Italy, quitting his 
parental roof, he preferred to reside at Oxford. There 
he publicly and gratuitously lectured on all the epistles 
of Saint Paul. It was here I began to know him, for at 
that period some good fortune had brought me also there ; 
he was then about thirty years old, my junior by two or 
three months. He had as yet taken no degree in 
divinity, nor attempted so to do ; yet there was in Ox 
ford no doctor either of divinity or of law, no abbat 
nor any other dignitary, but what came to hear him, even 
bringing their note-books with them ; whether this is to 
be recorded as a proof of the estimation of Colet, or of 
their own love of study, who though old men were con 
tent to learn from a young man, and being doctors from 
one who was not a doctor ; notwithstanding, he after 
wards willingly took the title of doctor, which he received 
more that he might adhere to the usual custom, than that 
he was ambitious of it. 

" From these pious labours, by the favour of King 
Henry the Seventh, he was recalled to London, and made 

NOTES. 133 

Dean of Saint Paul s, that he might preside over the 
community dedicated to the author of those epistles which 
he so deeply loved. And that dignity is the foremost of 
its kind in England, although there are others of greater 
revenue. Here the excellent man, considering himself 
called to labour, not to dignity merely, amended the de 
cayed discipline of his chapter, and, which was then a 
new thing, he began to preach on every feast in his 
church, besides the extraordinary sermons which he gave 
sometimes at court, and sometimes in various other places. 
Moreover, in his own church he did not take his text 
indifferently from the Gospel, or from the Apostolic 
epistles, but he proposed some one argument, which he 
followed up in various discourses to its close ; as the 
Gospel of Matthew, the Creed, or the Lord s Prayer. 
And he had a numerous congregation, amongst which 
were many of the principal men of the city, and of the 
King s court.* The dean s table, which had previously 
under the name of hospitality administered to excess, he 
reduced to frugality : for, having for some years before 
wholly abstained from suppers, he saved evening enter- 
tainments.j Moreover, since he dined somewhat late, 

* Among his greatest admirers was Sir Thomas More, one of 
whose letters, addressed to Cole.t, is extant, lamenting his absence at 
that time from London, because the writer thus at once lost his most 
delightful society, his most prudent advice, his example, and his 
most impressive sermons cujus gravissimis concionibus excitari. 

f To this point Erasmus again alludes in a letter written shortly 

134 NOTES. 

even on that account he had not so many guests, and 
still fewer because the preparation was frugal though 
becoming, and the sitting but short ; and, finally, the 
discourse was only such as would please the learned and 
the good. As soon as grace was said, some boy, with a 
clear voice, distinctly read a chapter from the Epistles of 
Paul or the Proverbs of Solomon : after which, the dean 
himself would usually refer to some chosen passage, and 
make it the subject of discourse, inquiring from the 
learned, and even from intelligent laics, what each had to 
remark upon it. And he would so temper the discussion 
that, whilst it was at once pious and earnest, yet it excited 
neither weariness nor distaste. Again, towards the close 
of the repast, when now the company were pretty well 
satisfied, and that to the extent of sufficiency rather 
than indulgence, he started some other discussion, and so 
he dismissed his guests refreshed alike in mind as in 
body, to go away better men than they came, not over 
burdened with the viands they had eaten. 

" He took the greatest delight in conversation with his 
friends, and often prolonged it far into the night ; but all 
his discourse was either upon literature or upon religion. 
If he found any lack of agreeable talk (for it was not 

after Colet s death to Thomas Lupset, in which he approves the in 
tention expressed by that person, of making Colet his model : 
" but," he adds, " that you follow his example in debarring yourself 
wholly from suppers, of that indeed I do not approve, nor did I 
approve of it in him." 

NOTES. 135 

every one that pleased him,) one of his servants used to 
read from the Holy Scriptures. 


TRAVELS. No one could be more joyous than he then 
was ; but he had always some little book with him, and 
all his discourse was seasoned with religion. He was so 
impatient of everything filthy, that he could not even 
bear indecent or ambiguous words. In every thing of 
domestic furniture, in preparation for meals, in apparel, 
in books, he was anxious to be neat, but did not aim at 
magnificence. He wore only black gowns, whilst in that 
country the priests and doctors of divinity are dressed in 
scarlet. His upper garment was always of woollen, and 
plain ; if the cold required it, he further protected him 
self with linings of fur. 

" Whatever income he derived from his office, he left 
that to be expended by his steward for domestic pur 
poses ; that which he had of his paternal inheritance 
(and it was very great) he distributed himself in pious 
uses. For having, upon his father s death, inherited a 
large accession of fortune, for fear he should contract 
any harm from keeping it, he devoted it to the construc 
tion of a new School in the cemetery of Saint Paul s, 
which he dedicated to the Boy Jesus, a handsome fabric, 
to which he added houses as handsome, for the residence 
of the schoolmasters, whom he endowed with an ample 
salary, in order that they should teach gratuitously ; yet 
providing that the school should not receive beyond a 

136 NOTES. 

fixed number. He divided it into four apartments. Into 
the first boys enter as catechumens, but no one is ad 
mitted that is not already able to read and write. The 
second receives those who are taught by the Under- 
master ; the third those whom the Upper-master instructs. 
These two parts are separated from each other by a 
curtain, which is drawn, or withdrawn, at pleasure. Above 
the master s chair is a seated figure of beautiful work 
manship, the Boy Jesus, in the attitude of teaching, 
whom the whole flock, on entering and leaving the 
school, salutes with a hymn ; and above is the face of 
the Father, saying, IPSUM AUDITE ! for these words he 
inscribed at my suggestion.* In the fourth or last apart 
ment is the chapel, in which divine service may be per 
formed. The whole school has no corners or closets, 
so that it gives no room for eating or sleeping. Every 
boy has his own seat on benches, gradually rising, and at 
fixed intervals. Every class has sixteen, and the boy 
who heads his class has a seat a little raised above the 
rest. Nor is any applicant admitted indiscriminately, 
but a choice is made of dispositions and capacities. This 
most sagacious man perceived that the chief hope of the 

* Erasmus composed several poetical inscriptions, which were 
placed in various parts of the school : they will be found in 
Knight s Life, p. 140. Under the image of the Child Jesus was this 
distich : 

" Discite me primum, pueri, atque effingite puris 
Morihus ; inde pias addite literulas." 

NOTES. 137 

State consisted in the judicious education of youth.* 
Though the undertaking incurred an immense expen- 

* The dean employed Erasmus, then at Cambridge, to seek 
there for masters for the new school ; and Erasmus, in a letter to 
Colet, related the following anecdote of what occurred to him when 
so engaged : 

" I am reminded of an incident which will make you smile. 
Whilst I was making some overtures respecting an Under-master, 
among the masters of arts, one of them (not the lowest in repute) 
said with a sneer, Who could bear to pass his life in that school 
among a parcel of boys, when he could possibly get his living any 
where else ? I quietly replied, that the office of instructing youth 
in good manners and literature appeared to me a particularly 
honourable one, and that Christ had not despised that period of life, 
which was the best qualified for the reception of good, and the 
most promising of a fruitful return, since it was as it were the seed- 
plot and nursery of the State. I added, that all men of true piety 
were agreed that no service was more acceptable to the Almighty 
than that of bringing children to Christ. But upon this he turned 
up his nose, and derisively said, If any one wants to be altogether 
the servant of Christ, he should enter a monastery and follow its 
rule. I answered, that Paul places true religion in the duties of 
charity ; and that charity consists in benefiting our neighbours to 
the utmost of our power. He rejected this sentiment as not or 
thodox. Well, he added, you see we scholars have left all, 
and must therefore be in a state of perfection. No man, I replied, 
can be said to have left all, who, when he has the power to benefit 
many by his exertions, declines the office because he deems it too 
humble. And so, to avoid further dispute, I took my leave of him. 
Take this as a sample of the wisdom of a Scotist, and a taste of his 
charming conversation." 

138 NOTES. 

diture, yet he allowed no one to share it with him. 
Somebody had bequeathed towards the building a hundred 
pounds of English money; when Colet perceived that 
on this ground the laity would claim I know not what 
right of interference, he, with the permission of his 
bishop, appropriated that money to the purchase of 
sacred vestments for the Church. To the management 
of the estates and the whole trust he appointed, not 
priests, not the bishop, nor the chapter, as it is called, 
not great men, but certain married citizens,* of approved 
character. When he was asked the reason, he said that, 

* Gives conjugates. The trustees were, it is well known, the 
Company of Mercers, of which the founder s father Sir Henry Colet 
had been a member, and conjugati might perhaps be translated 
" associated." Colet s high opinion of the married men is, however, 
noticed in another passage ; and- such is the usual import of the 
Latin word here employed. 

In his dialogue De Pronunciatione Erasmus again describes the 
difficulties experienced in this matter 

Ursus. Thus John Colet, a man worthy of perpetual remembrance, 
when he had added a school for boys to the church of Saint Paul s, 
found his greatest difficulty in determining to whom he should 
consign the government of the institution. The bishops deem such 
a matter unworthy of their care. The schoolmen fancy their calling 
is rather to collect fees than take charge of schools, and think they 
have filled their office fairly if they do not tithe the schoolmaster. 
In colleges of canons the worse part almost always bears sway. The 
magistrates either want judgment, or favour private interests. 

Leo. What plan did he at last adopt ? 

Ursus. He set over his school a married man, and who was rich 

NOTES. 139 

though nothing was entirely certain in human affairs, 
still he found less corruption in men of that class. 

" And whilst every body approved this work, at the 
same time many wondered why he had built such a mag 
nificent house * within the precinct of the monastery of 
Carthusians, which is not far from the royal palace called 
Richmond. He said that he was preparing it as a 
seat for his old age, when, unequal to his labours, or 
broken by disease, he might be compelled to retire from 
the company of men. There it was his intention to philo 
sophise with two or three chosen friends, among whom 
he was accustomed to number me ; but death interposed. 
For after he had been attacked a few years before with 
the pestilent sweat, a disease which peculiarly troubles 
Britain, it seized him a second and a third time ; and, 
although he recovered, yet from the relics of the disease 
he contracted a disorder of the bowels, which proved fatal 
to him. One physician thought him to be dropsical. 
Dissection gave no additional information, except that his 
liver was found partially diseased. 

"He was buried at the south side of the choir in 
his own church, in a humble tomb, which he had some 
years before destined for that purpose, adding the inscrip 
tion, JOAN. COL. 

in children. He entrusted its superintendence to certain lay citi 
zens, of whose integrity he thought so highly that he had good 
hope it would descend to their next heirs. 

* See the passage of Colefs will in Additional Notes. 

140 NOTES. 

" I shall conclude, my Jonas, by recounting a few par 
ticulars, first of his own disposition, then of the peculiar 
opinions, and lastly of the trials, which discovered the 
simple piety of the man, the least part of which he owed 
to his natural constitution. In truth, he was possessed 
of a remarkably high spirit, was most impatient of injury, 
wonderfully inclined to love, and indulgence, and sleep, 
and immoderately addicted to jests and drollery : these 
things he himself confessed to me : nor was he entirely 
free from the failing of avarice. 

" Against these frailties he so contended by his philo 
sophic and sacred studies, by his vigils, his fastings, and 
prayers, that he passed the whole course of his life pure 
from the defilements of this world ; for, much as I saw of 
him in private life and in familiar conversation, I never 
could find but that he preserved the flower of chastity 
even to his death. He dispersed his wealth in charitable 
purposes ; by his good sense, he brought his lofty spirit 
into subjection,* so that he would even allow himself to 

* An interesting anecdote, in which Colet and Warham are 
actors, and which illustrates this point of the dean s character, is 
related by Erasmus in a letter to Jod. Gaverus : 

" He was on the worst terms with his uncle, a man very old and 
of perverse temper. The strife was not about goat s wool, or (as 
they say) of an ass s shadow, but about a great sum of money, 
enough to create a war between father and son. Colet, being 
invited to dine with the reverend father AVilliam archbishop of 
Canterbury, had taken me as his companion in the boat. On the 

NOTES. 141 

be admonished by a child. His propensities to sexual 
love, to sleep, and excess he put to flight by continual 
abstinence from suppers, by uniform abstemiousness, un 
wearied application to study, and pious conversation ; and 
yet if an occasion ever offered itself, either when jesting 
with facetious persons, or when conversing with women, 
or when joining in great entertainments, you might notice 

way he was reading from my Enchiridion the remedy of anger; nor 
did he yet show why he chose to read it. At the dinner table it 
happened that Colet sat opposite his uncle, gloomy in face, neither 
speaking nor eating. But the archbishop has that happy art, to 
provide that none of his guests should fail in cheerfulness, by accom 
modating his discourse in turn to the tastes of all. He therefore 
directed the conversation to a comparison of ages, which gave rise to 
some talk among the silent ones, and at last the uncle, after the 
wont of old men, began to boast that, though so advanced in years, 
he retained so much vigour. After dinner there was some commu 
nication between them apart. When Colet had returned to the 
boat with me, he said, I see, Erasmus, that you are a successful man. 
I was wondering why he should call the most unsuccessful of men 
successful, when he related what bitter animosity he had entertained 
towards his uncle, so much so that he felt almost inclined to break 
through all the restraints of Christian moderation, and, disregarding 
the ties of kindred, to enter into open war with him ; and on that 
account he had taken my Enchiridion into his hands, that he might 
peruse the remedy of anger, and it had answered the purpose. 
Soon after the conference, whatever it was, which had followed the 
dinner, the bitterness of either party had been modified, so that 
presently after, at the interposition of the archbishop, the whole 
affair was easily adjusted between them. " 

142 NOTES. 

some vestiges of his natural disposition ; and on that ac 
count he generally abstained from the company of lay 
men, but especially from feasts ; and if he was sometimes 
compelled to attend them, he took with him either myself 
or some one like me, in order that by discourse in Latin 
he might be able to avoid idle conversation^ And at the 
same time he would eat moderately of one kind of meat 
only, with one or two draughts of ale, abstaining from 
wine ; which he still enjoyed when good, but took with the 
utmost temperance. Thus, as if always holding himself 
in suspicion, he was cautious of every thing in which he 
could possibly give the least offence, for he was not un 
aware that the eyes of all were directed upon him. I 
have never known a more happy wit, and on that account 
he especially delighted in those who had the like talent ; 
but in these discussions he preferred those subjects which 
might be preparative for the immortality of a future life. 
Even if he sometimes relaxed into lighter conversation, 
there was still nothing in which he was not wont to phi 
losophise. He delighted in the purity and natural sim 
plicity of children, remembering how Christ had called 
upon his disciples to be like unto them ; and used to com 
pare them to the angels. 

" Now, that I may perform the other part of my pro 
posal, he differed much in his sentiments from the vulgar, 
but with admirable prudence he in this matter accommo 
dated himself to others, that he might not offend any, or 
lest he should attract any disrepute in public fame, being 

NOTES. 143 

not unconscious how harsh are men s judgments, how 
prone to believe evil reports, and how much easier it is 
to blast any one s reputation with slanderous tongues, 
than to repair it with commendations. Among his friends 
and the learned he most freely proclaimed his real senti 

" The Scotists, to whom of all men the vulgar attribute 
peculiar acumen, he used to say appeared to him slow and 
dull, and anything but clever ; for to argue about the 
expressions and words of others, to object first to this and 
then to that, and to divide everything into a thousand 
niceties, was the part only of barren and poor talents.* 
Yet to Thomas (Aquinas), I know not why, he was more 
opposed than to Scotus ; and indeed when I spoke in 
praise of him, as an author not to be despised among the 
more recent writers, because he seemed not only to have 
studied the Holy Scriptures and the fathers, (as I judged 
from what is called the Catena Aurea,) but also to have 
some earnestness in his writings, he repeatedly affected 
to pay no attention. But when again, in another con- 

* The following passage of a letter from Colet to Erasmus, written 
in 1513, exemplifies his contempt of the Scotists : " Since you write 
to me that you sometimes fight my battles with those warriors of 
Scotus, I rejoice that I have such a champion. But it is an unequal 
contest, and inglorious, for what praise have you if you drive off and 
crush flies ? what favour do you confer upon me if you bring down 
swallows ? The skirmishing may be unavoidable, but is neither 
sublime nor invigorating ; however, it proves the regard and love 
you bear me." 

144 NOTES. 

versation, I more strongly advanced the same arguments, 
he watched me as if to discover whether I was speaking 
seriously or ironically ; and when he found I was in 
earnest, he exclaimed, with much excitement, * Why do 
you preach up that fellow ? who, if he had not great arro 
gance, would not have denned everything with so much 
rashness and so much dogmatism, and if he had not pos 
sessed some worldly spirit, would not have so contaminated 
the whole doctrine of Christ with his own profane philoso 
phy? I was struck by my friend s ardour, and began to 
examine the writings of Thomas more strictly. What 
more need I say? I lost whatever estimation I had con 
ceived for him. 

"Whilst no one more sincerely cherished Christian piety, 
yet to monasteries (which, for the most part, are now 
falsely so called,) he was in no degree well-inclined, and 
gave them either nothing or very little, nor even left them 
anything at his death. Not that he entertained any 
hatred of the religious orders, but because their members 
do not act up to their vows ; for he had himself intended 
to have withdrawn entirely from the world, if he could 
have anywhere found a society truly bound together in a 
rule formed on the law of the Gospel, and he confided 
that intention to me when I was about to go into Italy, 
remarking that he had known among the Italians some 
monks truly intelligent and pious. But he could not 
esteem that to be religion which is vulgarly taken for it, 
since it is very often a mere want of sense. He used, 

NOTES. 145 

however, sometimes to praise the Germans, as retaining 
some vestiges of pristine Christianity. He was wont to 
remark that he had never founck morals less corrupted 
than amongst married people, because the natural affec 
tions, the care of children, and household affairs, act as it 
were as barriers to restrain them from lapsing into every 
kind of vice. 

" Although he lived in perfect purity himself, yet, in 
censuring the faults of others, he was less severe towards 
such transgressors who being priests, or even monks, sin 
only in point of chastity, not that he otherwise than 
abhorred the vice of lechery, but because he found reason 
to esteem such persons comparatively much less criminal 
when he observed others who were proud, envious, railers 
and slanderers, hypocrites, vain-glorious, unlearned, wholly 
given up to covetousness and ambition, and yet seeming 
to set a high value on themselves ; whilst the admitted 
infirmity of the former rendered them more humble and 
unassuming. He said that avarice and pride were more 
odious in a priest than if he kept a hundred concubines. 
Let it not be imagined that he thought incontinency a 
venial fault in a priest or in a monk, but merely that he 
deemed the other class to be further astray from true 
piety. To no human beings was he more hostile than to 
such bishops as act the part of wolves instead of shep 
herds ; nor did he execrate any more than those who, 
whilst they recommend themselves to the people by fre 
quent masses, ceremonies, benedictions, and indulgences, 


146 NOTES. 

yet are enslaved with all their hearts to the world, that is 
to say, to honours and emoluments. 

" He had derived some things from Dionysius and the 
other early theologians, upon which he still did not so 
absolutely rely, as to induce him ever to contend against 
the decrees of the Church, but yet so far that he was less 
opposed to such as do not approve the all-pervading 
image-worship in churches, whether as paintings, or in 
wood, stone, brass, gold, or silver ; and also to such as 
doubt whether a priest notoriously and openly reprobate 
should perform any sacramental function, by no means 
favouring the erroneous judgment of such thinkers, but 
indignant at those who, by a life openly and unbecomingly 
corrupted, afford occasion for this kind of doubt. 

" The colleges, which with great and magnificent 
expense are established amongst the English, he used to 
say were an obstacle to efficient study, nor were anything 
more than the lounging-places of idle fellows ; nor did he 
allow much greater merit to the public schools,* because 
the ambition of preferment and gain, pervading every 
thing, had corrupted the simplicity of all learning. 
Whilst he strongly approved of secret (or auricular) con 
fession, asserting that he had never derived from any 
other source so much spiritual consolation and support, 

* The schools at the universities are meant, not what we now 
call public schools, of which Colet himself set an example at St. 
Paul s. 

NOTES. 147 

he equally strongly condemned its anxious and too fre 
quent repetition. And although it is customary with the 
priests in England to perform mass almost every day, 
yet he was content to do it only upon the Sundays and 
feasts, or at least on very few days besides those ; whether 
because he was engaged in his sacred studies, by which 
he prepared himself for preaching, or in the business of 
his church, or whether he had found that he worshipped 
with greater devotion if it was with some intermission. 
Yet he by no means blamed the practice of those who 
chose to approach the Lord s table every day. Whilst 
himself exceedingly well-read, yet he did not praise that 
anxious and laborious learning, which is acquired from 
an application to all studies, and a perusal of all authors, 
as it were a mixture from every cask : being used to 
say that the natural strength and simplicity of a man s 
genius was thus worn away, and his mind rendered less 
healthy and less accordant with Christian innocence and 
pure and simple charity. He valued the epistles of the 
apostles very highly, but so far did he prefer the wonder 
ful majesty of the teaching of Christ, that he thought the 
writings of the apostles grew dim before it. All the 
sayings of Christ he had with great ability arranged under 
subjects, and had proposed to write a book upon them. 
He greatly wondered that priests, when engaged in 
business, should be obliged to repeat daily such length- 
ened prayers, even at their own houses or on a journey ; 
for he was a great advocate for the solemn performance 
L 2 

148 NOTES. 

of divine service. There are numberless things now most 
fully maintained in the public schools, from which he 
very far dissented ; of these he was accustomed some 
times to debate among his friends, though with others he 
was more reserved, from fear that, whilst on one hand he 
might effect no alteration, unless for the worse, he might 
also, on the other, suffer loss of influence himself. 
There was no book so heretical that he had not atten 
tively read; saying that he occasionally derived more profit 
from such than from those authors who so mystify every 
thing, as often to cajole their followers, and sometimes 
even themselves. 

" He used to maintain that a flow of correct language 
was not to be sought from the precepts of the gram 
marians, which he asserted were an hindrance to good 
expression, and that it could not be attained except by 
perusing the best authors : but of this opinion he paid 
the penalty, for whilst he was both by nature and instruc 
tion eloquent, and had a wonderful supply of language 
when speaking, yet in writing he occasionally fell into 
those lapses which the critics find pleasure in pointing 
out. And on this account, if I am not mistaken, he ab 
stained from writing books ; and I wish he had not so 
done, for the thoughts of such a man, however expressed, 
would have been valuable. 

" And now, that nothing may be wanting for a com 
plete Christian character of Colet, you must hear the 
storms which he had to encounter. He had never been 

NOTES. 149 

on good terms with his bishop,* of whose character it is 
enough to say that he was a superstitious and unbending 
Scotist, and on that score deemed himself a demigod ; of 
which tribe I may declare that, whilst I have known some 
whom I should be unwilling to call reprobates, yet I have 
never yet seen one who could, in my opinion, be called a 
true and sincere Christian. Nor was he a great favourite 
with many of his chapter, because he was somewhat 
tenacious of regular discipline ; and therefore they com 
plained that they were treated as monks, although this 
chapter formerly was of that class, and is called in old 
documents the East Minster. But when now the malice 
of the old bishop, for he had arrived at eighty years of 
age, was so bitter that it could no longer be repressed, 
having called to his councils two other bishops of like 
opinions, nor less spiteful, he began to attack Colet with 
the weapons which such men are accustomed to employ 
when they are attempting any man s destruction. He 
was brought before the archbishop of Canterbury, upon 
certain articles, gathered from his sermons. One of 
these was, that he had taught that images were not to be 
worshipped. Another, that he had taken away from 
Saint Paul s its credit for hospitality,-]- inasmuch as, 

* Richard FitzJames, a fellow of Merton college, Oxford, con 
secrated bishop of Rochester 1497, translated to Chichester 1503, to 
London 1505 ; he died in 1521. 

f " quod sustulisset a Paulo laudatam hospitalitatem. 1 " This 
charge was, no doubt, directed not only against the dean s preaching, 

150 NOTES. 

when expounding that passage of the gospel, Feed, feed, 
feed my sheep, after having, in the two former places, 
agreed with other interpreters, Feed by examples of life, 
Feed by exhortation of doctrine, in the third place he 
dissented, denying that it was likely that the apostles, 
who were then poor, should be commanded to feed their 
sheep with temporal aid, and therefore in this place he 
had substituted something else. A third charge was, 
that when in his sermons he had said that some preached 
from book * (the lifeless practice followed by many in 
England), he had obliquely reflected upon the bishop, 
who, on account of his age, was accustomed to do so. 
The archbishop,f to whom the merits of Colet were per 
fectly known, undertook the defence of the innocent, 
becoming his patron instead of judge, at the same time 
that Colet himself disdained to reply to these charges, 
and others still more foolish. Still the spite of the old 
man did not rest ; he attempted to excite the king s court 
against Colet, and particularly the king himself, having 
now taken up a new charge, that he had publicly de 
clared in a sermon, that an unjust peace was preferable 

but his practice also, as described in another passage. It is impos 
sible not to notice how widely Dr. Knight has misinterpreted the 
sense of these words, " That he preach d against the temporal pos 
sessions of bishops." Life of Colet, p. 89. 

* Fox, who has followed Erasmus in describing this prosecution, 
terms this " preaching from bosome-sermons." 

f "Warham. 

NOTES. 151 

to the justest war ; for at that time war was in prepara 
tion against the French. This tale was chiefly promoted 
by two Minorites :* one of those firebrands obtained a 
mitre : the other was wont in his sermons to harangue 
with good jaws against poets, for so he designated Colet, 
whilst he was far from versed in poetry, although not 
unskilled in music. Here the king, a young man of un 
common talent, gave an evident instance of his judgment, 
most deserving of a throne, for he privately encouraged 
Colet to persevere in amending by his sound doctrine the 
very corrupt manners of that age, and not to withdraw 
his light in those most lowering times : he told him he was 
well aware of what instigated those bishops against him, 
and he was also informed how much the English nation 
had profited by his example and his teaching. He added, 
that he would himself so restrain their attempts, that it 
should be evident that others would not be able to attack 
Colet with impunity. Upon this Colet thanked the king 
for his favourable intention, but deprecated what he pro 
posed, declaring his unwillingness that any one should 
suffer on his account, and that he would rather resign the 
preferment he held. 

" But some time after another occasion was given, by 

* One of these was Henry Standish, provincial of the Franciscan 
Order in England, and in 1518 made bishop of St. Asaph. He 
also made some similar attacks on Erasmus , see Jortin s Life, i. 
p. 220; ii. 154, 262. The other person was friar Bricot, afterwards 

152 -NOTES. 

which they hoped they should at last ruin Colet. An 
army for France was to be got ready by Easter. On 
Good Friday Colet preached before the king and the 
court in an admirable manner on the victory of Christ, 
exhorting all Christians, that under the standard of their 
king they should both fight and conquer ; but as for those 
who from hatred, or ambition, foully engaged in mutual 
war and slaughter, they served not under the banners of 
Christ but of the devil ; and at the same time he showed 
them how difficult a thing it is to die a Christian death ; 
how few enter into war uninfluenced by hatred or avarice ; 
how barely possible was it for the same man to have that 
Christian charity, without which no man shall see God, 
and to thrust his sword into the bowels of his brother. 
He added, that they ought to imitate their own prince 
Christ, rather than the Caesars and Alexanders. And 
many other things he then delivered to the same pur 
pose ; so that the king was somewhat alarmed lest this 
sermon should take away the resolution of the soldiers 
whom he had mustered. Upon this all Colet s ill-wishers 
flew at him as they would at a toad, hoping that now the 
king s mind might be embittered against him. By the 
king s command Colet was summoned to his presence. 
He had dined in the little monastery of Franciscans, 
which adjoins the palace of Greenwich. As soon as the 
king saw him, he went down into the garden of the mo 
nastery,* and on Colet s approach dismissed all his 
* There is a similar anecdote to this in the history of Sir Thomas 

NOTES. 153 

attendants. When they were alone he commanded the 
dean to be covered, that they might enter into familiar 
conversation, and thus the most gracious prince began : 
t Be under no needless alarm, master dean ; I have not 
called for you to disturb your most pious labours, which 
I entirely approve, but I would disburden my conscience 
of some scruples, and by the aid of your advice more 
rightly fulfil my duty. But I need not repeat the whole 
conversation, which w r as prolonged for nearly an hour and 
a half. In the mean time Bricot was exulting in the court, 
supposing that Colet was at last in danger ; whereas the 
king was agreed with him in all points, except that he 
wished that what Colet had spoken with perfect truth he 
had said in a somewhat more explanatory way, on account 
of the rude soldiers, who might interpret it otherwise than 
he had said, namely, to the effect that among Christians 
no war is just. Colet by his prudence, and by his re 
markable moderation of sentiment, not only satisfied the 
king s mind, but even increased his previous favour. 
When they had returned into the palace the king, before 
dismissing Colet, drank to his health, and having em 
braced him most graciously, and promised every thing 
that can be expected from the most loving sovereign, he 

More, which will be more familiar to most readers than the present. 
How the king came unexpectedly to Chelsea, and dined with him, 
and after dinner walked in his garden for the space of an hour, 
holding his arm about his neck. 

154 NOTES. 

dismissed him. Now the tribe of courtiers standing 
round was awaiting the end of that conference, and the 
king, in the hearing of all, said, Every one may have his 
own doctor, and each may favour his own ; this is the 
doctor for me. So the wolves departed hungry, as they 
say, and especially Bricot ; nor from that day did any one 
venture to impeach Colet." 

Such is the interesting character of Dean Colet, drawn 
by his friend Erasmus : a composition to which the writer 
refers with evident pleasure in the letter to Governs 
already quoted, when enumerating the various friends he 
had lost by death 

" After these was John Colet, who departed in about 
the fortieth year of his age. The excellent qualities of 
this person what need is there to rehearse ? since I have 
sufficiently depicted him in my (published) Epistolse, and 
that to the letter (ex vero) : for I knew the man inti 
mately for many years." 

It was five years before Colet s death that Erasmus 
had boasted of his friendship to Servatius ;* and so re 
ciprocal was the honour conferred by this friendship, that 
we may most appropriately close this long note with the 
observation of Granger, that ; < No higher testimony need 

* " There is at London John Colet, the dean of Saint Paul s, a 
man who unites the deepest learning with admirable piety, and is 
of great authority with all people. He loves me so well, as all 
know, that he likes no one s company better than mine." (Letter 
to Servatius in 1514.) 

NOTES. 155 

to be given to the merit of Colet than his great intimacy 
with Erasmus. There was a similarity of manners, of 
studies, and of sentiments in religion, betwixt these illus 
trious men, who ventured to take off the veil from igno 
rance and superstition, and to expose them to the eyes of 
the world, and to prepare men s minds for the reforma 
tion of religion, and restoration of learning." 

(50) The sacristy. 

" This was probably the chapel of Saint Andrew, 
which in Hollar s plan is marked as the vestiarium." 
(Willis.) It is accordingly marked Sacristy in the Plan 
given in this volume. 

(51) Treasures of the church. 

The amazing treasures of the church of Canterbury 
can only be properly appreciated by perusing the In 
ventory, made two centuries before the visit of Erasmus, 
which is printed in the Appendix to Dart s History of 
the Church, pp. iv xviii. Of the " copes of profession," 
presented by suffragan bishops and abbats, there were 
sixty-five, besides many more of equal splendour. The 
crosses, chalices, and other church furniture, fill several 


pages. The jewels immediately belonging to the shrine 
will be quoted in a subsequent Note. 

(52) The pastoral staff of Saint Thomas. 

Thus described in the Inventory just mentioned: 
" Item. Baculus Sancti Thomas de pyro, cum capite 
de nigro cornu." 

It was made of pear-wood, with a crook of black horn. 
So simple in the days of Becket was the episcopal crosier, 
which in later times was highly enriched with goldsmith s 
work and jewellery, (like the crosier of William of Wyke- 
ham, still preserved at New College chapel.) In illus 
tration of this point, and of the archbishop s general 
attire, the Seal of Archbishop Becket is here (for the first 
time) engraved. 

(53) Was there no cross 9 

The cross -headed staff, in distinction to the crosier, 
became the peculiar ensign of an archbishop. Sainted 
archbishops are always represented with it, and it is 
generally placed in the hands of archbishops on their 
monuments and seals. In the Canterbury series the first 
archbishop who bears it on his seal is Robert Kilwarby, 
consecrated 1272. 


NOTES. 157 


Next to lord Mountjoy, who had been the pupil of 
Erasmus on the continent, Warham was the earliest 
English patron of Erasmus. When the latter first came 
to England in 1509, the archbishop contributed five 
pounds towards his travelling expenses ; and the next 
year Erasmus declared that the archbishop alone de 
tained him in this country. In 1511 Erasmus thus wrote 
of Warham : 

" Whilst very many others treat me with marked 
kindness, so chiefly does that my especial Maecenas the 
archbishop of Canterbury, or rather not mine only, but 
the patron of all the learned, among whom I take the 
lowest place, if any at all. Almighty God ! how feli 
citous, how copious, how ready, is the genius of that man ! 
what skill in conducting the most important business ! 
how extraordinary his learning ! But then what unheard- 
of courtesy towards every one ! what pleasantness in 
address ! so that, in a manner truly royal, he dismisses 
no one from him depressed. Moreover, how great and 
what ready liberality ! Lastly, in such an eminence of 
fortune and dignity, what an absence of pride ! so that 
he alone appears to be unaware of his greatness. In 
protecting his friends no one is more faithful or more 
constant. In fine, he is a true primate, not only in rank, 
but in every kind of merit." (Epist. 135.) 

158 NOTES. 

These were the terms in which Erasmus acknowledged 
his obligations to Warham at the time he was receiving 
his favours. After the archbishop s death he drew his 
character still more at length, and it deserves to be placed 
by the side of that of Colet, which the reader has already 

" Here I am reminded of a man worthy of the memory 
of all posterity, William Warham, archbishop of Canter 
bury, primate of all England ; not only by that title, but 
in reality a theologian. He was a doctor of both laws ; 
he had distinguished himself in some embassies success 
fully accomplished ; and he had acquired the favour and 
esteem of Henry the Seventh, a prince of the highest 
judgment. By these steps he was raised to the eminence 
of the church of Canterbury, which ranks foremost in 
dignity in that island. To this charge, exceeding bur 
densome in itself, was added another still more so. He 
was obliged to undertake the office of chancellor, which 
indeed with the English is truly royal ; and to this officer 
only is the honour paid, of having the royal crown, with 
the sceptre placed upon it, borne before him, whenever 
he goes forth in public. For he is as it were the eye, the 
mouth, and the right hand of the king, and the supreme 
judge of the whole British dominion. This office he 
filled with such skill for many years, that you would have 
said he was born for that very business, and held no 
other charge. But at the same time he was so vigilant 
and attentive in matters relating to religion and his eccle- 

NOTES. 159 

siastical functions, that you would say he was engaged in 
no external concerns. He found time sufficient to discharge 
religiously the solemn duty of prayer, to perform mass 
almost daily, to be present besides at two or three ser 
vices, to hear causes, to receive embassies, to advise the 
king if any thing of importance had arisen in court ; to 
visit his churches, wherever his presence was required ; 
to receive his guests, often amounting to two hundred; 
and lastly, his leisure was given to reading. For occu 
pations so various he found one life sufficient, no part of 
which he bestowed on hunting, none on dice, none on 
empty tales, none on luxury or pleasures. In the place 
of all these amusements he had either some agreeable 
reading, or conversation with a learned man. Although 
he sometimes had bishops, dukes, and earls as his guests, 
yet dinner was always finished within the space of one 
hour. In the midst of a sumptuous table, as his dignity 
demands, it is incredible to say how he abstained from all 
delicacies. He rarely tasted wine, but generally, when 
already a septuagenarian, used to drink very weak ale, 
which they there call beer, and even that very sparingly. 
Moreover, when he had taken the smallest quantity of 
food, yet with the kindness of his looks, and the cheer 
fulness of his discourse, he enlivened the whole table. 
You perceived the same gravity either before or after 
dinner. He abstained entirely from suppers, or if some 
of his intimate friends, of which number we were, hap 
pened to be with him, he sat down, but scarcely touched 

160 NOTES. 

the viands ; but if no such company were there, he spent 
the time of supper either in prayer or in reading. And 
as he abounded himself in very happy pleasantries, but 
far removed from bitterness or indecorum, so he was 
pleased with the more free jests of his friends : yet he 
shrunk as much from scurrility or detraction as any 
would do from a serpent. Thus this excellent man made 
those days abundantly long, of the shortness of which so 
many complain." Ecclesiastes. 

(55) The whole figure of the excellent man. 

The Latin here is " tota facies," which former trans 
lators have rendered " the whole face," but it was more 
probably a whole-length than a head, whether a pic 
ture or statue ; and so professor Willis seems to think, 
calling it " the image of St. Thomas." He also supposes 
the chapel in which it stood was the Corona. (Archi 
tectural History of Canterbury Cathedral, p. 113.) 

(56) Spoliation of churches. 

This passage of the Colloquy is so exactly descriptive 
of the scenes which were enacted a few years after in 
England, that it might be deemed the production of one 
who witnessed them. An interesting paper, written by 

NOTES. 161 

an actual witness, has been published by Sir Henry Ellis 
in his last (the Third) Series of Original Letters, and 
gives a striking picture of the flood of avarice, spoliation, 
and oppression, which was suddenly let loose at the dis 
solution of monasteries : when, as Erasmus foresaw, those 
who had hitherto been accustomed to make their offer 
ings to the houses of religion were led on in the general 
scramble to peculation and robbery. 

The writer, who lived in Yorkshire, says, " it would 
have made a heart of flint to have melted and wept to 
have seen the breaking-up of the house, and their sor 
rowful departing ; and the sudden spoil that fell the same 
day of their departure from the house. And every 
person had every thing good-cheap, except the poor 
monks, friars, and nuns, that had no money to bestow of 
anything, as it appeared by the suppression of an abbey, 
hard by me, called the Roche abbey ; a house of white 
monks, a very fair-builded house, all of freestone, and 
every house vaulted with freestone, and covered with lead 
(as the abbeys was in England, as well as the churches 
be). At the breaking-up whereof an uncle of mine was 
present, being well acquainted with certain of the monks 
there ; and when they were put forth of the house, one 
of the monks, his friend, told him that every one of the 
convent had given to him his cell wherein he lied ; 
wherein was not any thing of price, but his bed and ap 
parel, which was but simple and of small price ; which 
monk willed my uncle to buy something of him, who 

162 NOTES. 

said, I see nothing that is worth money to my use/ 
* No ? said he, give me ij d * for my cell door, which was 
never made with v s/ l No, said my uncle, * I know not 
what to do with it (for he was a young man unmarried, 
and then neither stood in need of houses nor doors). But 
such persons as afterwards bought their corn and hay, or 
such like, found all the doors either open, or the locks 
and shackles plucked away, or the door itself taken away, 
went in and took what they found, and filched it away. 

" Some took the service-books that lied in the church, 
and laid them upon their waine-coppes to peice the same : 
some took windows of the hayleith and hid them in their 
hay ; and likewise they did of many other things ; for 
some pulled forth the iron hooks out of the walls that 
bought none, when the yeomen and gentlemen of the 
country had bought the timber of the church. For the 
church was the first thing that was put to the spoil ; and 
then the abbot s lodging, dorter and frater, with the 
cloister, and all the buildings thereabout within the 
abbey-walls ; for nothing was spared but the ox-houses 
and swinecotes, and such other houses of office that 
stood without the walls, which had more favour showed 
them than the very church itself ; which was done by the 
advice of Cromwell, as Fox reporteth in his book of Acts 
and Monuments. It would have pitied any heart to see 
what tearing up of the lead there was, and plucking up 
of boards, and throwing down of the spars ; and when 
the lead was torn off and cast down into the church, and 

NOTES. 163 

the tombs in the church all broken (for in most abbeys 
were divers noble men and women, yea, in some abbeys 
kings, whose tombs were regarded no more than the 
tombs of all other inferior persons ; for to what end 
should they stand, when the church over them was not 
spared for their cause ?), and all things of price either 
spoiled, carped away, or defaced to the uttermost. 

" The persons that cast the lead into fodders plucked 
up all the seats in the choir, wherein the monks sat when 
they said service, which were like to the seats in minsters, 
and burned them, and melted the lead therewithall, 
although there was wood plenty within a flight-shot of 
them, for the abbey stood among the woods and the 
rocks of stone, in which rocks was pewter vessels found 
that was conveyed away and there hid ; so that it seemeth 
that every person bent himself to filch and spoil what 
he could, yea, even such persons were content to spoil 
them that seemed not two days before to allow their re 
ligion, and do great worship and reverence at their 
mattins, masses, and other service, and all other their 
doings, which is a strange thing to say, that they could 
this day think it to be the house of God, and the next 
day the house of the devil ; or else they would not have 
been so ready to have spoiled it. 

" For the better proof of this my saying, I demanded 

of my father, thirty years after the Suppression, which 

had bought part of the timber of the church, and all the 

timber in the steeple, with the bell-frame, with others his 

M 2 

164 NOTES. 

partners therein (in the which steeple hung viij. yea ix. 
bells ; whereof the least but one could not be bought at 
this day for xx 11 . which bells I did see hang there myself 
more than a year after the Suppression), whether he 
thought well of the religious persons and of the religion 
then used ? And he told me yea ; for, said he, I did see 
no cause to the contrary. Well, said I, then how came 
it to pass you was so ready to destroy and spoil the 
thing that you thought well of ? What should I do ? 
said he. Might I not, as well as others, have some 
profit of the spoil of the abbey ? for I did see all would 
away, and therefore I did as others did. 

" Thus you may see, that as well they that thought 
well of the religion then used, as they which thought 
otherwise, could agree well enough, and too well, to spoil 
them. Such a devil is covetousness and mammon ! and 
such is the providence of God to punish sinners, in 
making themselves instruments to punish themselves, 
and all their posterity from generation to generation. 
For no doubt there hath been millions of millions that 
have repented the thing since ; but all too late. And thus 
much upon my own knowledge touching the fall of the 
said Roche Abbev." MS. Cole, vol. xii. Ellis, III. iii. 35. 

(57) The Prior. 

Thomas Goldwell, the last Prior of Canterbury, suc 
ceeded in 1517, and continued until the Dissolution, when 

NOTES. 165 

on the 4th April 1539, a yearly pension of 80/. was as 
signed him, together " with the office of one of the pre 
bendaries there." It is obvious, therefore, that he con 
formed to the Reformation. 

" A good Scotist " was a man well read in the learn 
ing of the great schoolman Duns Scotus, who lived in 
the latter part of the 13th century. The opinion which 
Colet entertained of the Scotists, and in which his friend 
Erasmus must have nearly coincided, has been seen 
in p. 149. 

(58) The Shrine. 

The Shrine of Saint Thomas was placed in the centre 
of the chapel, as shown in the Plan, and had in front of 
it a curious mosaic pavement, which still remains, exe 
cuted in the manner termed Opus Alexandrinum, in which 
the pavements of most of the Roman basilicas are 
wrought, and of which there are also specimens at West 
minster Abbey, in the pavements of the presbytery, of 
the chapel of Edward the Confessor, and also about his 
shrine, and the tomb of Henry III. (Willis.) 

Stowe has preserved in his Chronicle the following 
description of the Shrine at Canterbury : " This Shrine 
was builded about a man s height, all of stone ; then 
upward of timber, plaine ; within the which was a chest 
of yron, conteyning the bones of Thomas Becket, scull 
and all, with the wounde of his death, and the peece cut 

166 NOTES. 

out of his scull layde in the same wound. These bones 
(by commandement of the lord Cromwell) were then and 
there brent. The timber-work of this shrine on the 
outside was covered with plates of gold, damasked with 
gold wier, which ground of gold was againe covered with 
jewels of golde, as ringes 10 or 12 cramped together with 
gold wyer into the said ground of golde, many of those 
rings having stones in them, brooches, images, angels, 
pretious stones, and great pearls, &c. The spoile of 
which shrine, in golde and precious stones, filled two 
great chests, such as sixe or seaven strong men could doe 
no more then convey one of them at once out of the 

I suspect, however, that this description was chiefly 
derived from the Cottonian MS. Tib. E. vm. and that 
it has been partially misunderstood. On f. 269 of that 
MS. there is a pen-and-ink sketch of the Shrine,* with 
some written description (in English) by its side, now 
partially burnt away by the Cottonian fire, but of which 
a Latin translation will be found on the engraving of this 
subject in Dugdale s Monasticon ; and below the Shrine 
is drawn the square iron table on which the Skull stood, 
of which an engraving has been before given at p. 118. 

Stowe supposed the latter was a chest of iron within 
the Shrine : but it seems more probable that the sketch 

* This drawing seems to have been copied from some former 
original : which, if it could be recovered, might prove to be more 
accurately finished, and therefore afford additional information. 


NOTES. 167 

was intended to represent the place of exhibition of the 
Skull, in the Undercroft of the church. 

The description of the Shrine in the Cottonian MS- so 
far as it can now be ascertained, was to this effect : 

" All above the stone worke was first of wood, Jewells 
of gold set with stone .......... wrought uppon 

with gold wier. Then agayn with Jewells of gold, as 
broch[es, images of angels, and rings] 10 or 12 together, 
cramped with gold into the ground of gold. The s[poils 
of which filled two] chests, such as 6 or 8 men could but 
convay out of the church. At [one side was a stone, 
with] an angell of gold poyntyng therunto, offred there 
by a kinge of France : [which king Henry put] into a 
ring, and woar it on his thomb." 

There are also memoranda written against the three 
finials on the crest of the Shrine, that they were of silver 
gilt, the central one weighing eighty ounces, and the two 
others each sixty ounces. 

In the Inventory of 1315, already mentioned, we have 
the following catalogue of the Jewels of the Shrine, 
under the three classes of rings, stones set in gold, and 
stones set in silver : 


Anulus pontificalis magnus cum rubino rotundo in 

Item. Anulus magnus cum saphiro nigro qui vo- 
catur lup. 

168 NOTES. 

Item. Anulus minor cum saphiro nigro qui vocatur 

Item. Anulus cum parvo saphiro nigro qui vocatur lup. 

Item. Anulus cum saphiro quadrate aquoso. 

Item. Anulus cum lapide oblongo qui vocatur Tur- 

Item. Anulus j. cum viridi cornelin sculpto rotundo. 

Item. Anulus j. parvus cum smaragdine triangulate. 

Item. Anulus j. cum chalcedonio oblongo. 

Item. Lapides ejusdem in auro situati, 

Saphirus unus oblongus qui vocatur loup. 

Item. Onichinus unus oblongus. 

Item. Crapodinus unus in auro. 

Item. Cornelinus unus sculptus et oblongus in auro. 

Item. Crux aurea, cum tribus garnettis, quatuor pe- 
rulis, et duobus granis saphiri. 

Item. Firmacula iij. parva vetera, unde ij. cum par- 
vis gemmis et j . cum nigro saphiro. 

Item. Lapides ejusdem cum argento, 
Lapis in forma piri. 
Item. Jaspis unus rotundus. 
Item. Unus peridot oblongus. 
Item. Una prama rotunda in argento deaurato. 
Item. Crapodinus j. in argento. 
Item. j. Camau cum medietate hominis. 
Item. Lapis j. niger quadratus. 
Item. j. Anulus argenteus cum garnettis. 

NOTES. 169 

Item. Os album rotundum in argento. 

Item. Lapis R. de Weynchepe oblongus cum cor- 
nelino rubeo et capite hominis. 

There are probably further treasures belonging to the 
Shrine mentioned under the other heads of the Inventory. 
Thus among the chasubles is that of sir John Plukenet, 
knight, of purple cloth with golden pine-apples, and a 
large orfrey before and behind, bequeathed to the Shrine 
of Saint Thomas. Among six chalices of solid gold, one 
is described as, 

Calix aureus ad feretrum, cum viridi amalio in nodo 

Among the murrhine cups, was one called the Cup of 
Saint Thomas, lined with silver gilt, and having a chased 
foot. Another of the six golden chalices was that 
offered by Philip king of France ; and among the Cuppa3 
ad Corpus Domini, was one of gold offered by Louis 
king of France. Among the morses or clasps of copes, 
were six also called " of the king of France," silver, gilt 
and enamelled, three with imagery undescribed, and the 
other three having the crucifix on the right side, and the 
annunciation on the left. Thus it appears that the 
French monarchs made frequent offerings to Saint 
Thomas of Canterbury : and it will be observed that 
Erasmus remarks that several of the jewels of the Shrine 
were the gift of sovereign princes. 

Amongst other Shrines of English saints, the most 
celebrated were those of Edward the Confessor at West- 

170 NOTES. 

minster, Edmund at Bury in Suffolk, Alban at the town 
named after him, and Cuthbert at Durham. 

The CONFESSOR was not canonized until the pontifi 
cate of Alexander III. Thereupon king Henry the 
Third prepared a precious shrine, to which the body of 
the saint was translated at midnight on the 15th Oct. 
1 1 63. Afterwards, on king Henry the Third rebuilding 
the church, the original shrine was either inclosed or suc 
ceeded by the remarkable erection of Italian mosaic 
which has been suffered to remain to our own days. It 
is said to have been surmounted by another of fine gold 
and precious stones, so curiously wrought, that the work 
manship even exceeded the material. Among the treasures 
of this shrine was an image of the blessed Virgin in 
ivory, offered by archbishop Becket, who had promoted 
the Confessor s canonization. 

The shrine of SAINT EDMUND in Bury was also of 
two parts, or stages, which seems to have been the usual 
arrangement the lower of stone, and the upper of 
wood, incased with gold plate. An illumination of Lyd- 
gate s Life of St. Edmund, in the MS. Harl. 2278, 
represents the young devotee, king Henry the Sixth, 
kneeling before this shrine, in 1433. It is engraved in 
the new edition of the Monasticon, and in the Gentle 
man s Magazine for September 1822. 

The shrine of SAINT ALBAN was renewed in costly 
goldsmith s work by abbat Simon towards the close of 
the twelfth century. On the two sides were figures in 

NOTES. 171 

relief representing the life of the blessed martyr ; at the 
head, towards the east, the crucifix, with Mary and John ; 
and in the front, towards the west, an image of the 
blessed Virgin, sitting on a throne, and holding her 
divine Infant in her lap. On both sides of the roof the 
order of the saint s martyrdom was represented. At the 
four corners were open turrets, with marvellous bosses of 
crystal. Within this sumptuous external covering, the 
older shrine was contained. It is said that the (inner) 
shrine of saint Alban is now preserved in the church of 
Saint Mauritius, belonging to the Theresian convent at 
Cologne. (See Matthew Paris ; Newcome s History of 
St. Alban s, pp. 63 and 75 ; and Messrs. Bucklers Archi 
tectural History of the Church, 1847, pp. 47, 168.) 

The Shrine of SAINT CUTHBERT at Durham is fully 
described in the curious account of that church written 
by one who remembered it in its state before the Reforma 
tion. It " was exalted with most curious workmanship of 
fine and costly green marble, all limned and gilt with 
gold, having four seats or places convenient under the 
shrine for the pilgrims or lame men sitting on their knees 
to lean and rest on, at the time of their devout offerings 
and fervent prayers to God and holy Saint Cuthbert for 
his miraculous relief and succour; which being never 
wanting, made the shrine to be so richly invested that it 
was estimated to be one of the most sumptuous monu 
ments in England, so great were the offerings and jewels 
bestowed upon it, and no less the miracles that were 

1 72 NOTES. 

done by it." There was a wainscot covering, let up and 
down by means of a pulley and rope, which at the same 
time set six silver bells in motion, in order to attract the 
attention of persons in distant parts of the church. The 
cover was gilt ; on the north and south sides were painted 
" four lively images," on the east end our Saviour sitting 
on a rainbow, to give judgment, and on the west end the 
Virgin and our Saviour on his knee. The cover had a 
carved crest of dragons and other beasts ; its inside was 
varnished of a fine sanguine colour, to be more perspicuous 
to the beholders, and when closed down it was locked at 
every corner. 

Within the Feretory or Chapel of the Shrine, both on 
the north and south, were Almeryes for the Relics : 
made of wainscot, finely painted and gilt with little 
images : and at the same time that the shrine was un 
covered, these almeryes were also opened for exhibition. 
(See more minute particulars in the Rites and Monu 
ments of the Monasticall Church of Durham, Surtees 
Society s edition, 1842, pp. 3 et seq.) 

The vice-prior of Durham was also keeper of the 
Feretory. " His office was that, when any man of honour 
or worship were disposed to make their prayers to God 
and to Saint Cuthbert, or to offer anything to his sacred 
Shrine, if they requested to have it drawn, then strait- 
way the Clerk of the Feretory did give intelligence to his 
master, and then the said master did bring the keys, 
giving them to the clerk to open the locks of the Shrine. 

NOTES. 173 

His office was to stand by and see it drawn, commanding 
the said clerk to draw it. Also it was ever drawn in the 
matins time, when Te Deum was in singing, or in the 
high-mass time, or at evensong time, when the Mag 
nificat was sung. And when they had made their 
prayers, and did offer anything to it, if it were either 
gold, silver, or jewels, straitway it was hung on the 
shrine. And if it were any other thing, as unicorn horn, 
elephant tooth, or such like thing, then it was hung 
within the Feretory, at the end of the Shrine. And 
when they had made their prayers, the clerk did let down 
the cover thereof, and did lock it at every corner, giving 
the keys to the vice-prior again." (Ibid, p. 79.) 

(59) Rapacity of the officers of the English 

This was an old personal grievance of Erasmus. On 
leaving England after his first visit, in 1499, a regulation 
was put in force against him, which prohibited any person 
from carrying out of the country coin exceeding in 
amount six angels. The king s officers at Dover took 
from him all the money he had above that sum, nearly 
twenty pounds, thus in fact depriving him of the fruits of 
his learned labours in England. (See his Epistola?, Nos. 
62, 80, 94.) 

174 NOTES. 

Again, when he passed over the straits in the year 
1514, he suffered from what he deemed a wanton error, 
which he thus described to his friend Ammonius : " The 
passage was most fortunate, but still anxious to me. The 
sea perfectly calm, the wind favourable, the weather de 
lightful, the time most convenient. For we sailed at 
about seven o clock. But those maritime thieves carried 
my portmanteau, which was full of my writings, into 
another ship : a thing they do on purpose, in order that, 
if they find any suitable opportunity, they may steal 
away something : but if not, they extort some money, and 
sell you your own property. And so, when I supposed 
I had lost the work of so many years, I felt so troubled 
in mind that I think no parent could feel more on the 
death of his children. And indeed in all other matters 
they treat travellers in such sort, that it might be better 
to fall into the hands of Turks than theirs. I have often 
wondered with myself that these dregs of men are tole 
rated by the princes of England, to the great molestation 
of their visitors, and not without the highest disgrace of 
the whole island, considering every one on returning 
home relates how inhumanly he was received, and others 
form their opinion of the nation from the acts of these 
robbers." (Epist. 159.) 

This second grievance, however, had evidently been 
surmounted before Erasmus wrote this letter, which is 
dated from the English castle of Hammes, near Calais, 
where he was then visiting Lord Mount] oy. 

NOTES. 175 

(60) Herbaldown hospital. 

It is not a little remarkable, that while the lordly 
monasteries of Canterbury, with their incalculable riches, 
were swept away shortly after the visit of Erasmus, the 
humble hospital which he mentions with something like 
contempt, has remained to our own time. 

It is situated at Herbaldown, about one mile from the 
West Gate of the city ; and was one of three lazar- 
houses founded by archbishop Lanfranc, about the year 
1084. Such hospitals were erected away from the town 
population, in order to avoid infection. The two other 
hospitals of St. James and St. Lawrence were suppressed 
after the Reformation, respectively in 1551 and 1557 ; 
but Herbaldown escaped, continuing to receive a yearly 
pension of SQL from the archbishop, and other revenues, 
amounting in all to nearly 250. in 1784. Its history, 
compiled by the Rev. Nicholas Battely and the Rev. 
John Buncombe, was published in 4to. 1785, in No. xxx. 
of the Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica. An ancient 
church dedicated to Saint Nicholas was attached to the 
hospital, and the corporate seal represents a figure of that 
episcopal saint, with this inscription, SigilV infirmorum 
hospitalis Sci Nicholai de Herbaldoune. On Saint 
Nicholas day the brethren and sisters (for there were 
both,) had an annual feast ; and a curious maple bowl is 

176 NOTES. 

still preserved which was used on these occasions. It- 
has a silver rim, and a silver medallion at the bottom, its 
workmanship early in the 14th century, and representing 
a scene from the romance of Guy of Warwick. 


" Of Warwick he hight Guyon. 
Here he slays the dragon." 

(61) Saint Patrick s Cave. 

In his Adagia Erasmus has again alluded to Saint 
Patrick s Cave. After explaining the proverb, In Tro- 
phonii antro vaticinatus est, as originating with a vision 
of Tartarus, related by Plutarch in the " Dream of 
Socrates," he remarks, " This story seems to me so like 
that which is related of the cave of Patrick, in Ireland, 
that one might be thought taken from the other. Yet 
even now there are very many who descend : but after 
having first half killed themselves with a three days fast, 
lest they should enter with a sound head. Those who 
have descended relate that they have lost their inclina 
tion for laughing for the rest of their lives." 

In the Colloquy before us, Erasmus seems to intro 
duce the Cave of Saint Patrick last, as if he deemed it 
the crowning absurdity of Pilgrimage, and as if a mere 
allusion to it were sufficient : yet, so strong is the in- 

NOTES. 177 

veteracy of superstition, that this imposture has flourished 
down to the present time, and that even in the united 
kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. See Sir John 
Barrow s Tour round Ireland, Carleton s Traits and 
Stories of the Irish Peasantry, and a very interesting 
historical dissertation on this and cognate topics, entitled, 
" St. Patrick s Purgatory ; an Essay on the Legends of 
Purgatory, Hell, and Paradise, current during the 
Middle Ages. By Thomas Wright, esq. M.A., F.S.A." 
1844. 12mo. 

St. Patrick s Purgatory is situated on an island of 
Lough Derg, among the mountains of the county of 
Donegal. There are various records of its having been 
visited by pilgrims of the higher ranks in the middle 
ages, some of whom came even from the continent of 
Europe. An amusing account of it occurs in the Chroni 
cle of Froissart, arising in a conversation between the 
author and sir William Lysle, as they were travelling 
together in Kent. " Than on Friday in the mornynge sir 
William Lysle and I rode together, and on the waye I 
demaunded of him, if he- had bene with the kynge in the 
voyage into Ireland. He answered me, yes. Than I de 
maunded of him the maner of the hole that is in Ireland, 
called Saynte Patrykes purgatorye, if it were trewe that 
was sayde of it or not. Than he sayde, that of a suretye 
suche a hole there was, and that he him selfe and another 
knight of Englande hadde ben there while the kinge laye 
at Duvelyn, and sayde, howe they entred into the hole 

178 NOTES, 

and were closed in at the sonne goynge downe, and abode 
there all night, and the nexte mornyng issued out agayne 
at the son rising. Than I demaunded if he had any 
suche strange sightes or visions as was spoken of. Than 
he said howe that whan he and his felow were entred and 
past the gate that was called the purgatory of Saynt 
Patrike, and that they were descended and gone downe, 
thre or foure partes discendynge downe as into a cellar, a 
certayne hoote vapure rose agayne them and strake so 
into their heedes, that they were fayne to syt downe on 
the stares, which are of stone. And after they had sytte 
there a season, they had great desyre to slepe, and so fell 
aslepe, and slept there all nyght. Than I demaunded if 
that in theyr slepe they knewe where they were, or what 
vysyons they had : he answered me, that in slepyng they 
entred into great ymaginacyons and in marveylous 
dremes, otherwise than they were wonte to have in their 
chambres; and in the mornynge they issued out, and, 
wythin a shorte season, clene forgate their dremes and 
visyons, wherfore he sayde, he thought all that mater was 
but a fantasy." 

(62) The Roman stations. 

In his Modus orandi Deum Erasmus has frequent re 
marks on the images and pictures in churches. " It were 
to be wished," he says, " that nothing should be seen in 

NOTES. 179 

Christian churches but what is worthy of Christ. Now 
we see there so many fables and follies depicted, as the 
seven falls of our lord Jesus, the seven swords of the 
Virgin, or her three vows, and other idle inventions of 
that kind ; and then the saints not represented in a guise 
becoming them." 

The general character of art in Roman Catholic 
churches has certainly not improved during the three 
centuries that have elapsed since Erasmus wrote. They 
are still crowded with images and pictures, which degrade 
the persons and subjects they are intended to honour. 
The Stationes are maintained in large churches, denoting 
the several halting ^ 1on es of processions : they are 
generally numbered, and further marked by a very 
ordinary series of paintings, or perhaps of engravings, of 
" the seven falls of our lord Jesus," and other real or 
apocryphal scenes in the history of the Passion. 

(63) The sumptuousness of churches. 

The same arguments which Erasmus here advances as 
the joint sentiments of Colet and himself on the subject 
of church architecture and ornaments, he repeats in nearly 
the same terms in another Colloquy, and again with 
special reference to what he had seen at Canterbury : 

" It appears to me that those are almost guilty of 
mortal sin, who proceed to immoderate expenses in the 


180 NOTES. 

building or adorning of monasteries or churches, whilst 
in the mean time so many living temples of Christ are 
in danger of starvation, are perishing from nakedness, or 
are distressed from the want of necessaries. When I 
was in England, I saw the tomb of Saint Thomas, loaded 
with jewels, countless in number, and of the highest 
value, beside other miracles of riches. I would rather 
that such superfluities were spent in aid of the poor than 
to be kept for princes, who will some day carry away all 
at once ; and I would adorn the tomb with boughs and 
garlands, which I think would be more acceptable to that 
most holy man." The Religious Feast. He proceeds 
in the same place to censure the extravagant cost of the 
marble cathedral at Milan. 

Worship of the Virgin and the Saints. 

Though alive to the abuses to which the worship of 
Saints gave rise, Erasmus was not prepared to condemn 
it altogether. In his apology for his Colloquies, from 
which other extracts are given in the Preface to this 
volume, he states, 

" It is equally false that in the Colloquies the suffrages 
of the Blessed Virgin and of the other Saints are ridi 
culed, but I ridicule those who ask from the Saints things 
which they would not dare to ask from a good man ; or 
pray to certain Saints under the supposition that one or 
the other will or can more readily bestow this or that, 

NOTES. 181 

than any other, or than Christ himself. Nay, in the Col 
loquy on Youthful Piety the boy thus speaks, * I have 
saluted some. Whom ? * Christ and some Saints. 
And a little after, * Again in three words I salute Jesus 
and all the Saints, but especially the Virgin Mother, 
and those whom I esteem as my patrons/ And after 
wards he mentions by name those he salutes daily." 

Erasmus himself wrote an address to the Virgin, 
entitled, " Observatjo ad Virginem Matrem Mariam in 
rebus adversis :" it is printed in his Works, edit. Fro- 
benii, Basil. 1540, torn. v. p. 1030. There is the fol 
lowing passage, nearly similar to that in the text : " Cum 
et filium genueris exorabilem, praeterea sic tui amantem, 
sic observantem, quippe piissimum, ut nihil omnino neget 
postulanti." This seems, in fact, to be the great reli 
ance of the Virgin-worshipper. 

Those who wish to pursue this subject will do well to 
consult the Rev. Mr. Tyler s " Mariolatry," 8vo. 1844 ; 
and his more recent volume on Image Worship, 1847. 
The following particulars from the latter seem appropriate 
as an illustration of " the Virgin of Walsingham," and as 
showing how grievously the corrupt practices of the 
Christian Church have imbibed the spirit of the craftsmen 
of Ephesus. 

In the 17th century was published a work by William 
Gumppenberg called Mary s Atlas, being a description 
of all her miraculous images worshipped in every part of 
the world. 

182 NOTES. 

In 1839 a priest of Verona began to re-publish it, 
having added " the latest images which wrought wonders, 
to the end of the eighteenth century." This work has 
now reached six volumes (the last, in the British Mu 
seum, being published in 1842,) and already contains an 
account of 1 93 miraculous images ; yet these six volumes 
have reviewed only a part of Italy, and have not touched 
upon any other country. 

In 1707 was published at Lisbon " Santuario Mariano," 
containing an account of the miraculous images of the 
Virgin venerated in Portugal and its dependencies. It 
fills no less than ten octavo volumes. 




THE abuses of Pilgrimages were perceived and cen 
sured by the pious Lollard and the caustic satirist long 
before the time of Erasmus. The opinion entertained 
on the subject by the poet Chaucer is well known ; but 
an earlier poet, John Longland, is riot less severe in his 
picture. In his Vision of Piers Ploughman, which was 
written about the year 1362, he thus describes the lying, 
idleness, and mendicancy to which encouragement was 
given by this vagrant kind of life : 

Pilgrymes and palmeres plighten hem to gidere, 

For to seken seint James, and seintes at Rome, 

They wenten forth on hire wey with many wise tales, 

And hadden leve to lyen al hire lif after. 

I seigh somme that seiden thei hadde y-sought seintes, 

To ech a tale that thei tolde hire tonge was tempred to lye, 

Moore than to seye sooth, it semed bi hire speche. 

Heremytes on an heep with hoked staves 

Wenten to Walsyngham, and hire wenches after, 

Grete lobies and longe, that lothe were to swynke, 


Clothed hem in copes, to ben knowen from othere, 
And shopen hem heremytes hire ese to have. 

VISION OF PIERS PLOUGHMAN, written about 1362. 

But the most interesting particulars I have met with 
in connexion with Pilgrimage in England are afforded by 
the narrative of William Thorpe, a Lollard, which de 
scribes his examination taken before archbishop Arundel 
at Saltwood castle, in the year 1407. One of the 
charges brought against this person was, that in a sermon 
preached at Shrewsbury he had maintained " that men 
should not goe on pilgrimages;" and on this question 
issue is joined in the discussion which ensued at his 
examination. The archbishop is represented as behav 
ing with all the overbearing violence likely to animate 
the powerful when irritated; but a certain harshness 
towards all accused persons was an unbecoming charac 
teristic of the rude justice of those times. 

" And then he said to me, What saiest thou to the 
third point that is certified against thee, preaching openly 
in Shrewsburie that pilgrimage is not lefull ; and, over 
this, thou saidest that those men and women that go on 
pilgrimages to Canterburie, to Beverley, to Karlington, 
to Walsingam, and to any such other places, are accursed 
and made foolish, spending their goods in waste. And 
I said, Sir, by this certification I am accused to you that 
I should teach, that no pilgrimage is lefull ; but I saide 
never thus. For I know that there be true pilgrimages 
and lefull, and full pleasant to God ; and therefore, sir, 


howsoever mine enemies have certified you of me, I told 
at Shrewsburie of two maner of pilgrimages. 

" And the archbishop saide to me, Whome callest thou 
true pilgrims ? 

" And I said, Sir, with my protestation, I call 
them true pilgrimes travelling towarde the blisse of 
heaven which, in the state, degree, or order that God 
calleth them to, doe busie them faithfullie for to occupie 
all their wits, bodelie and ghostlie, to knowe truely, and 
to kepe faithfullie, the biddings of God, hating and flee 
ing all the seaven deadlie sins, and everie branch of 
them, ruling them vertuouslie (as it is said before) with 
al their wits ; doing discreetlie, wilfullie, and gladly all 
the works of mercie, bodely and ghostly, after their cun 
ning and power; abling them to the gifts of the Holie 
Ghost, disposing them to receive them in their soules, 
and to hold therein the right blessinges of Christ; 
busieng them to knowe and to keepe the seaven principall 
vertues ; and so then they shall obteine heere, through 
grace, for to use thankfullie to God all the conditions of 
charitie ; and then they shall be moved by the good 
Spirit of God for to examine oft and diligentlie their 
conscience, that neither wilfullie nor wittinglie they erre 
in any article of beleefe ; having continuallie (as frailtie 
will suffer) all their businesse to dread and to flee the 
offence of God, and to love over all, and to seeke ever to 
doe, his pleasant will. Of these pilgrimes I said, what 
soever good thought that they any time thinke, what 


vertuous worde that they speake, and what fruitfull worke 
that they worke, everie such thought, worde, and worke 
is a step, numb red of God, towarde him into heaven. 
These foresaide pilgrims of God delight sore when they 
heare of saintes or of vertuous men and women how 
they forsooke wilfullie the prosperitie of this life, howe 
they withstoode the suggestion of the fiende, how they 
restrained their fleshly lustes, howe discreet they were 
in their penance doing, howe patient they were in all 
their adversities, howe prudent they were in counselling 
of men and women, mooving them to hate all sinnes and 
to flie them, and to shame ever greatlie thereof, and love 
all vertues, and to drawe to them, imagining howe Christ, 
and his followers, by example of him, suffered scornes 
and sclaunder, and howe patientlie they abode and tooke 
the wrongful manasing of tyrantes ; howe homelie they 
were and servisable to poore men, to relieve and comfort 
them bodelie and ghostlie, after their power and cunning ; 
and howe devout they were in praiers, howe fervent they 
were in heavenlie desires, and howe they absented them 
from spectacles of vaine sayings and hearings ; and howe 
stable they were to let and destroie all vices, and howe 
laborious and joyfull they were to sowe and to plante 
vertues. These heavenlie conditions and such other 
have pilgrimes, or endevour-them for to have, whose pil 
grimage God accepteth. 

" And againe, I saide, as their workes show, the most 
parte of men and women that goe now on pilgrimages 


have not these foresaide conditions, nor loveth to busie 
them faithfullie for to have. For, as I well know, since 
I have full oft assaid, examine, whosoever will, twenty of 
these pilg rimes, and he shall not find three men or 
women that know surely a commandment of God, nor 
can they say their Pater Noster and Ave Maria, nor 
their Creed readily in any manner of language. And, 
as I have learned, and also know somewhat by experi 
ence, of these same pilgrimes, telling the cause whie that 
many men and women go hither and thither now on pil 
grimage : It is more for the health of their bodies then 
of their soules ; more for to have riches and prosperitie 
of this worlde then for to be enriched with vertues in their 
soules ; more to have here worldlie and fleshlie friend 
ship then for to have friendship of God and of his saints 
in heaven. For, whatsoever thing man or woman doth, 
the friendship of God, nor of any other saint, cannot be 
had without keeping of God s commandments. Further, 
with my protestation, I saie now as I said in Shrewsbury, 
though they that have fleshly wils travell far their bodies 
and spend mickle mony to seeke and to visite the bones 
or images (as they saie they do) of this saint or of that, 
such pilgrimage-going is neither praisable nor thankfull 
to God, nor to any saint of God, since, in effect, all such 
pilgrimes despise God and all his commandements and 
saints. For the commandements of God they will nother 
know nor keepe, nor conforme them to live vertuously 
by example of Christ and of his saintes. Wherefore, 


sir, I have preached and taught openlie, and so I pur 
pose all my lifetime to doe with God s helpe, saying that 
such fond people waste blamefullie God s goods in their 
vaine pilgrimages, spending their goods upon vitious hos- 
telars, which are oft uncleane women of their bodies ; and 
at the least those goods with the which they should doe 
workes of mercie, after God s bidding, to poore needie 
men and women. These poore men s goods and their 
livelode these runners-about offer to rich priests, which 
have mickle more livelode then they neede ; and thus 
those goods they waste wilfullie, and spend them un- 
justlie, against God s bidding, upon strangers, with 
which they should helpe and relieve, after God s wil, 
their poore needie neighbours at home. Yea, and over 
this follie, oft times divers men and women of these 
runners thus madlie hither and thither into pilgrimage 
borrow hereto other men s goods ; yea and sometimes 
they steale men s goodes hereto, and they paie them 
never againe. Also, sir, I knowe well that when divers 
men and women will goe thus after their own willes and 
finding out on pilgrimage, they will ordaine with them 
before to have with them both men and women that can 
well sing wanton songes, and some other pilgrimes will 
have with them bagge-pipes ; so that everie towne that 
they come through, what with the noise of their singing, 
and with the sound of their piping, and with the jangling 
of their Canturburie-bels, and with the barking out of 
dogges after them, that they make more noice then if 


the King came there away, with all his clarions and 
many other minstrels. And if these men and women be 
a moneth out in their pilgrimage, many of them shall be 
an halfe yeare after great j anglers, tale-tellers, and Hers. 

" And the archbishop said to me, Leud losell ! thou 
seest not far inough in this matter, for thou considerest 
not the great travaile of pilgrimes ; therefore thou 
blamest that thing that is praisable. I say to thee, that 
it is right wel done that pilgrims have with them both 
singers and also pipers ; that when one of them that 
goeth barefoot striketh his toe upon a stone, and hurteth 
him sore, and maketh him bleede, it is well done that he 
or his fellow begin then a song, or else take out of his 
bosom a bagpipe, for to drive awaie with such mirth the 
hurt of his fellow ; for with such solace the travaile and 
wearinesse of pilgrimes is lightly and merrily borne out.* 

" And I said, Sir, St. Paule teacheth men to weepe 
with them that weepe. 

" And the archbishop saide, What, janglest thou against 

* The archbishop s argument is exactly that adopted by "our 
host of the Tabarde." 

Ye goon to Caunterbury ; God you speede, 
The blisful martir quyte you youre meede ! 
And wel I woot, as ye gon by the weye, 
Ye schapen you to talken and to pleye, 
For trewely comfort ne merthe is noon, 
To ryde by the weye domb as a stoon : 
And therefore wol I make you disport. 



men s devotion ? Whatsoever thou or such other saie y 
I sale that the pilgrimage that now is used is to them 
that do it a praiseable and a good meane to come the 
rather to grace." 


" One of the things which strike with surprise the 
English traveller is the extent to which the practice of 
making pilgrimages is, even at the present day, carried 
in the Catholic countries of southern and eastern Europe. 
Thousands, nay, hundreds of thousands, of pilgrims 
throughout the Austrian and Bavarian dominions, as 
well as in France, Spain, and Switzerland, make annually 
a journey to the shrine of some favourite saint, to kiss 
some precious relic, or to worship before some miracle- 
working picture or statue of the Virgin. Many of these 
pictures are of great antiquity, mostly in that rude style 
of art called Byzantine, executed by artists of the Greek 
empire ; and not a few represent the Virgin and Child 
with a negro complexion. There is always some tradi 
tion or story of the origin of each attached to the shrine ; 
and the string of miracles, which continue to the present 
day and which apparently are not likely to cease, are 


carefully recorded, and generally detailed in printed 
books sold on the spot. The memory of these miracu 
lous interpositions is further preserved by gifts deposited 
in the treasury of the church, usually consisting of 
models in silver, or even gold, of the parts of the body 
relieved of some ailment by the supposed intercession of 
the image, or by paintings, or votive tablets containing 
representations, rudely painted, of escapes from a ship 
wreck, a house on fire, a carriage which the horses have 
run away with, a broken bridge, the descent of an ava 
lanche, and such perils and dangers by flood and field as 
flesh is heir to, which the actual interposition of the 
Virgin is supposed to have averted ; and she is, in conse 
quence, always drawn enthroned on the clouds, in the 
same manner as Jupiter is introduced in the old prints of 
^Esop s Fables. The palladium of the shrine, whether a 
hideous black figure carved in wood, or a stiff, ungainly 
picture covered over with embroidered and tinseled silk 
or velvet, with two holes cut in it to allow the heads of 
the Virgin and Child to be seen, is usually resplendent 
with gold, diamonds, and other precious gems, the gifts 
of wealthy pilgrims. The treasuries of these churches 
are stored with rich dresses, brocades, trinkets, and 
jewels, for the decoration of the image, and with costly 
plate for the service of the altar, which in some instances 
has accumulated to an enormous extent. Princes, popes, 
emperors, and kings, even down to modern times, have 
visited in person, and have contributed largely. The pil- 


grimage church is usually approached by a little avenue 
of chapels somewhat like sentry-boxes, dotting the way 
side. These are ornamented with paintings representing 
the sufferings of our Lord on the way to Calvary, and 
are called Stations or Via Cruets. 

" In France the most celebrated shrines are at Puy, in 
the Valais, and that of Notre Dame de la Garde, at 
Marseilles, whose fame extends over the whole Mediter 
ranean, so that even the poorest captain of a Maltese or 
Neapolitan trabacolo hangs up her picture in his cabin, 
and propitiates her by a burning lamp. In Spain, Saint 
James of Compostella; in Switzerland, our Lady of 
Einsiedeln ; in Bavaria, the Black Lady of Altb tting ; 
in Austria, Maria Taferl ; in Styria, Maria Zell, which 
is a German Loretto ; in Bohemia, Saint John of Nepo- 
muc s shrine at Prague, are the chief focuses of pilgrim 
age. It would be tedious to enumerate the number of 
shrines of minor repute in the Austrian states which 
have their votaries. Some pilgrimage churches have 
there sprung up even within the present century. 

" Every year, at a stated season, printed bills are affixed 
to all the church doors of Vienna, stating the time fixed 
for the pilgrimage to Maria Zell, and the indulgences to 
be obtained by it. Pilgrims assemble from every parish 
on the day appointed, and, headed by priests and banners, 
they pour forth, in a long procession, men and women, 
from the gate. (See the extract before given in Note 16.) 

" The Church of Rome, in her worldly wisdom, never 


omits to take advantage of any circumstance which may 
make the observance of her rites attractive. Thus, if 
her masses and services are long, their tediousness is 
forgotten amidst ravishing strains of music and perfumed 
gales of incense ; and the attention is riveted and amused 
by draperies and vestments, by gold, glitter, and paintings. 
If the pilgrimages she enjoins are wearisome, the spirits 
of the tired pilgrim are elevated and his strength re 
freshed by the balmy air of the mountain tops, and by all 
the charms of beautiful scenery and extensive prospects. 

" There seems to be something particularly engaging in 
the worship on high places ; the pilgrimage church is 
almost always situated high up on the mountains, and it 
seems as though so slight a physical approach to heaven 
had the effect of raising the mind above earthly things. 

" There are few sounds more truly impressive than the 
chant of a band of pilgrims on their march, as it comes 
upon the ear amidst the lonely solitudes of the high alps, 
amidst cliffs and precipices. The simple peasants of 
Austria and Bavaria are no mean choristers, and the 
deep melody of their voices, the solemness of the scene, 
and the earnestness of the manner of those who thus 
raise the hymn in the grandest temple of the God of 
Nature, serve to increase the effect which it produces on 
the mind. It is difficult not to believe them sincere who 
engage in these exercises of piety." (Introd. to Murray s 
Hand-book for Travellers in Southern Germany.) 

" In Spain, as in the East, the duty of performing 


certain pilgrimages was formerly one of the absolute 
precepts of faith. Spain abounds in sacred spots and 
" high places." Monserrat was their Ararat, Zaragoza 
and Santiago their Medina and Mecca. These were the 
grand sites to which it was necessary to " go up." In 
process of time the monks provided also for every village 
some consecrated spot, which offered a substitute for 
these distant and expensive expeditions : they will perish 
with the dissolution of monasteries, which derived the 
greatest benefit from their observance. Few pilgrims 
ever visited the sacred spot without contributing their 
mite towards the keeping up the chapel, and the support 
of the holy man or brotherhood to whose especial care it 
was consigned. " No penny no paternoster ;" and masses 
must be paid for, as diamonds, pearls, and other matters, 
and the greatest sinners are the best customers. Al 
though lighter in purse, the pilgrim on his return took 
rank in his village, and, as in the East, was honoured as 
a Hadji ; the Spanish term is Romero, which some have 
derived from Roma, one who had been to Rome, a 
roamer ; others from the branch of rosemary, romero, 
which they wore in their caps, which is a Scandinavian 
charm against witches ; and this elfin plant, called by the 
Northmen ellegrem, is still termed alecrim in Portugal. 
Thus our pilgrims were called Palmers, from bearing the 
palm-branch, and Saunterers, because returning from 
the Holy Land, La Sainte Terre." (Introduction to 
Murray s Hand-book for Spain.) 


THE priory of Walsingham was founded during the 
episcopate of William bishop of Norwich, who sat in 
that see from the year 1 146 to 1 174. It originated with 
Geoffrey de Favarches, who, on the day he departed on 
pilgrimage for Jerusalem, granted to God and Saint Mary, 
and to Edwy his clerk, the chapel which his mother 
Richeldis had built at Walsingham, together with the 
church of All Saints in the same town, and certain por 
tions of land, with the intention that Edwy should found 
therewith an order of religion. This foundation was 
confirmed by Robert de Brucurtand Roger earl of Clare, 
the superior lords, in charters addressed to the bishop of 
Norwich already mentioned.* 

* " This is the correct account of the foundation," to adopt the 
words of the editors of the New Monasticon, vi. 71 ; and yet they 
proceed to say that " it should be told that a chapel was first built 
here dedicated to the Annunciation of our Lady, in 1061, by the 
mother of Geoffry, the widow of Richoldis de Faverches, which was 
afterwards in the reign of William the Conqueror converted into or 
made a part of the priory." This latter, however, should not have 
been told except as the incorrect account. It is the account of 
Parkin in the History of Norfolk, not derived from the cartulary 



The Pilgrimage to Walsingham commenced in or be 
fore the reign of Henry the Third, who was there in the 
year 1241. Edward the First was at Walsingham in 
1280 and 1296, and Edward the Second in 1315.* 

In 1361 king Edward the Third granted out of his 
treasury the sum of 97. as a gift to John duke of Britany 
for his expenses in going in pilgrimage to Walsingham ;t 
and afterwards, in the same year, to his nephew the duke 
of Anjou (one of the hostages of France) licence to be 
absent for a month from London, for his health and dis 
port, " towards Saint Thomas of Canterbury and our 
Lady of Walsingham ;"J and on the 20th Feb. 13G3-4 
he sent letters to the wardens of the marches towards 

of Walsingham, which is cited in his margin, but, with the excep 
tion of the date which it will be perceived is a century too early 
from the Icenia of Spelman, whose Latin phrase "conditum a Ri- 
cholde vidua nobili, villse domina" (which she does not appear to 
have been), is translated by Parkin into "the widow lady of Ri- 
coldie de Faverches." Subsequent writers, including Mr. Tay 
lor the author of the Index Monasticus of the Diocese of Norwich, 
and the editors of the New Monasticon, have continued to mistake 
the widow s name for that of her husband ; and Mr. Taylor falls 
into another misapprehension, in styling " Sir Geoffrey de Fave- 
raches, her son, afterwards earl of the Marches ." The meaning of 
his original was, that Geoffrey de Favarches, and afterwards the 
Clares, earls of the marches of Wales, were the principal early bene 
factors of the foundation. 

* These dates are from Taylor s Index Monasticus. 

f Rymer, vi. 315. 

J Ibid. 324. 


Scotland, directing them to give safe-conduct to his bro 
ther David de Brays (king of Scotland), to be accom 
panied by twenty knights, then intending pilgrimage to 

King Henry the Seventh, having kept his Christmas 
of 1486-7 at Norwich, " from thence went in manner of 
pilgrimage to Walsingham, where he visited our Ladies 
church, famous for miracles, and made his prayers and 
vows for help and deliverance." 

And in the following summer, after the battle of Stoke, 
" he sent his banner to be offered to our Lady of Wal 
singham, where before he made his vows."f 

King Henry the Eighth in his second year, shortly 
after Christmas, between Twelfth-day and the queen s 
churching, rode here ; and in the said year, May 14, 
6s. Sd. were paid to Mr. Garneys for the king s offering, 
as appears by a MS. of payments by the keeper of the 
privy seal, signed by the king s hand. 

The interesting and well-known letter written by 
queen Katharine of Arragon to king Henry, announcing 
the victory of Flodden, concludes with telling him that 

* Similar letters, bearing the same date, were issued in favour of 
Margaret wife of David Bruce, then intending pilgrimage to Saint 
Thomas of Canterbury ; and one week earlier like letters had been 
granted in favour of the Earl of Marr, who was also intending pil 
grimage to the tomb of Saint Thomas, and was to be accompanied 
by twelve knights and their servants. Rymer, vi. 434, 435. 

f Lord Bacon s Life of Henry VII. 


she was then on her way to Walsingham, " and now 
goo to our Lady at Walsyngham, that I promised soo 
long agoo to see."* 

Several pilgrimages to Walsingham are incidentally 
mentioned in the Paston Letters. 

In 1443, when John Paston lay ill at the Inner Tem 
ple, his mother " behested" (, e. vowed) another image 
(in addition to a former offering or behest,) of wax, of 
his weight, to our Lady of Walsingham, sending at the 
same time four nobles to the four orders of friars of 
Norwich to pray for him ; and his wife behested to go on 
pilgrimage both to Walsingham and to St. Leonard s 
priory f on the same account. 

On one occasion sir John Fastolfe mentions that " My 
lord of Norfolk is removed from Framlingham on foot 
to go to Walsingham," and that he was afterwards ex 
pecting him to come to Caister; in 1469 king Edward 
was intending this pilgrimage, and the queen also, if God 
sent her health ; again, John Paston writes from Nor 
wich that the duchess of Norfolk would be there " to 
morrow at night towards Walsingham;" and in 1471 
" my lord of Norfolk and my lady" were together " on 
pilgrimage at our Lady, on foot, and so they went to 
Caister." In 1478 it was expected that the duke of 

* Ellis s Orig. Letters, I. i. 89. 

f St. Leonard s priory without Norwich. Mr. Taylor (p. 66) 
mentions this and thirty other places in the county of Norfolk alone 
to which pilgrimages used to be made. 


Buckingham should come on pilgrimage to Walsingham, 
and so to Bokenham castle to his sister lady Knevett. 

Among other fond imaginations of the people, it was 
even believed that the galaxy or milky way was placed 
in the heavens to guide the pilgrims by night on their 
road to Walsingham, and it was therefore sometimes 
called the Walsingham Way. The principal earthly 
road by which they travelled is drawn upon the maps in 
Mr. Taylor s excellent. Index Monasticus. It passed by 
Newmarket, Brandon, and Fakenham ; and is still known 
as the Palmers Way, and the Walsingham Green-way. 
It may be traced, along the principal part of its course, 
for sixty miles in the diocese of Norwich. Those pil 
grims who came from the north crossed the Wash near 
Long Sutton, and went through Lynn, most probably 
taking the way which passed by the priories of Flitcham, 
Rudham or Roodham, and Cokesford. Another great 
road led from the east through the city of Norwich and 
Attleborough, by Bee hospital, where gratuitous accom 
modation for thirteen pilgrims was provided every night. 
At Hilburgh, Southacre, Westacre, Lynn, Prior s Thorns, 
Stanhoe, Caston, and many other places, were chapels at 
which the devotees, on their passage, offered up their 
orisons. The most remarkable of these is our Lady s 
chapel at Lynn, which contains a beautifully groined 
roof, and derived much wealth from the oblations of the 

* Taylor, p. xx. 



We are informed of the dimensions of the several 
churches at Walsingham by the measurements of 
William of Worcestre. * 

He says, the length of the New Work of Walsingham 
was sixteen yards, its interior width ten yards. The 
length of the chapel of the blessed Virgin (that is, the 
wooden chapel) was seven yards, thirty inches ; its width 
four yards, ten inches. The length of the whole church 
of Walsingham from the end of the chancel was 136 of 
Worcestre s paces, its breadth 36 paces ; the length of 
the nave from the west door to the tower in the middle 
of the church 70 paces ; the square of the tower 16 
paces ; the breadth of the nave without the two ailes 16 
paces. The length of the quire was 50 paces, and the 
breadth 17. The cloister was square, 54 paces in each 
walk : the length of the chapter-house 20 paces, its 

* The writer of the description in Mr. Britton s " Architectural 
Antiquities" charges Parkin (the continuator of Blomefield) with 
having confounded the New Work and the Chapel of the Virgin. 
This he has not exactly done: and, if he had, he would have been 
right. Parkin incorrectly conjectured that the New Work was 
" probably at the east end of the choir," instead of its being a sepa 
rate building as Erasmus tells us. But Mr. Britten s author has 
himself gone wider astray ; for he has confused the church of the 
Franciscan Friars of Walsingham with that of the Canons ; and 
this although Worcestre had inserted the dimensions of the church 
of Scottow between the two. 


breadth 10 paces, but the length of the entrance of the 
chapter-house from the cloister was 10 paces, so in all it 
was 30 paces. 

" The remains of this once celebrated place (remarks 
Mr. Parker*) are now very small. Of the chapel of 
our Lady we have only part of a fine Perpendicular east 
front, consisting of two stair-turrets covered with panel 
ling of flint and stone, with rich niches, &c. and fine 
buttresses connected by the arch and gable over the east 
window ; but the window itself is destroyed. In the 
gable is a small round window, with flowing tracery, set 
in the middle of a very thick wall." This striking fea 
ture of the Walsingham ruins will be found represented 
in most of the engraved views of the place, of which the 
two best are that by Coney in the New Monasticon, and 
that in Britton s Architectural Antiquities. Mr. Par 
ker has followed former writers in calling this a part of 
the chapel of our Lady ; but it must surely have be 
longed to the larger Priory church. 

The ruins were more considerable when described by 
Parkin in Blomefield s Norfolk, and when a view of them 
was published in the Vetusta Monumenta in 1720; but 
they have given way to trees, and walks, a trim lawn, and 
all the agremens of modern pleasure grounds. Some 
ruins close adjoining to the modern mansion are a portion 

* Architectural Notes prepared for the Archaeological Institute, 


of the refectory : they consist of a range of four early De 
corated windows, with the staircase to a pulpit in the 
wall. There is also a doorway and vault of another 
apartment. In the contrary direction (west of the 
church) are the Holy Wells, lined with plain ashlar 
stone ; on one side of them is a square bath (perhaps 
altered since the days of the canons) ; on the other, a 
small early-English doorway. 

The family of Lee -Warner have owned this beautiful 
estate from the time of Dr. Warner, Bishop of Roches 
ter, by whom it was purchased in 1766. 


(MS. Harl. 791, p. 27.) 

1. In primis, whether there be inventarie allweys per 
manent in the house betwene the priour and the brethern 
of this house, aswelle of alle the juelles, reliques, and or 
naments of the churche and chapel, as of alle the plate and 
other moveable goodes of this house. Et si sic exhibeatur. 

2. Item, yf there be no such inventarie, whether there 
be any bokes made therof, and of the guyfte of the 
juelles that have bene geven to our Ladye. Et si sic 


3. Item, whether any of the said juelles, ornamentes, 
plate, or goodes hath bene alienated, solde, or pledged at 
any tyme heretofore. And yf there were, what they 
were, to whome they were solde, for how moche, whan, 
and for what cause. 

4. Item, what reliques be in this house that be or hath 
bene moste in th estimacion of the people, and what ver- 
tue was estemed of the people to be in theym. 

5. Item, what probacion or argument have they to 
shewe that the same are trewe reliques. 

6. Item, in howe many places of this house were the 
said reliques shewed, and whiche were in whiche ? and 
whether the kepers of the same did not bring about tables 
to men for their offering, as thought they would exacte 
money of theym or make theym ashamed except they did 

7. Item, for what cause were the said reliques shewed 
in divers sundrye places more than alltogether in one 

8. Item, what hathe th offring made to our Ladye and 
to the said reliques bene worth a yere whan it hathe bene 
moste ? what commonly ? and what the laste yere ? 

9. Item, yf the said reliques be nowe layde aside, howe 
long ago, and for what cause they were so ? 

10. Item, what is the gretest miracle and moste un- 

* This last clause is interlined in the MS. as if it had been sug 
Bested by the perusal of Erasmus s Colloquy : see p. 16. 


doubted whiche is said to have bene doon by our Ladye 
here, or by any of the said reliques ? and what prouffe 
they have of the facte or of the narracion therof. 

11. Item, whether than (yf the facte be welle proved) 
the case might not happen by some naturalle meane not 
contrarie to reason or possibilitie of nature. 

12. Item, yf that be proved also, whether the same 
might not precede of the immediate helpe of God ? and 
why the successe of that case shulde be imputed to our 
Lady, and yet that to the image of our Ladye in this 
house more than another. 

13. Item, whether the miracles were wonte to be de 
clared in pulpite heretofore, and for what cause they 
were soe ? a Whitesonne Monday the faire 
tyme they were wonte to be opened. 

14. Item, what is the sayng of the buylding of our Lady 
chappelle, and of the firste invencion of the image of our 
Ladye there ; what of the house where the bere skynne 
is, and of the knyght ; and what of the other wonders 
that be here, and what proves be therof ? 

15. Item, whether they knowe not that men shulde not 
be lighte of credite to miracles, unlesse they be manifestly 
and invinciblie proved. 

16. Item, whether our Lady hathe doone so many 
miracles nowe of late as it was said she did when there 
was more offring made unto her. 

17. Item, what prouffe were they wonte to take of the 
miracles that the pilgremes did reporte shulde be made by 


our Lady ? and whether they bileved the parties owne re- 
porte therin, or toke witnes, and howe they toke the de- 
posicions of the same ? 

18. Item, whether our Lady s milke be liquid or no ? 
and yf it be, interrogatur ut infra. 

19. Item, who was Sextene upon a x. yeres agoo or 
therabout, and lett hym be exactely examined whether he 
hath not renewed that they calle our Lady s milke whan 
it was like to be dried up ; and whether ever he hymself 
invented any relique for the augmentation of his prouffit ; 
and whether the house over the welles were not made 
within tyme of remembrance, or at the lest-wise renewed. 


IN 1536. 

(MS. Cotton. Cleop. E. iv. fol. 231.) 

It maye please your good lordshipe to be advertised 
that sir Thomas Lestrange and Mr. Hoges, accordinge 
unto the sequestratyon delegate unto them, have bene at 
Walsingham, and ther sequestred all suche monney, plate, 
juelles, and stuff, as ther wasse inventyd and founde. 
Emoung other thinges the same sir Thomas Lestrange 
and Mr. Hoges dyd there fynd a secrete privye place 


within the howse, where no channon nor annye other of 
the howse dyd ever come, as they saye, in wiche there 
were instrewmentes, pottes, belowes, flyes of suche 
strange colers as the lick none of us had seene, with 
poyses, and other thinges to sorte, and denyd gould and 
sylver,* nothing there wantinge that should belonge to the 
arrte of multyplyeng. Off all wiche they desyred me by 
lettres to advertyse you, and alsoo that frome the Satre- 
daye at night tyll the Sondaye next folowinge was offred 
at their now beinge xxxiij 8 . iiij d . over and besyd waxe. 
Of this moultiplyeng it maye please you to cawse hem to 
be examyned, and so to advertyse unto them your further 
pleasure. Thus I praye God send your good lordshipe 
hartye helthe. Frome my pore howse, this xxv. of Julij, 
a xxviij . 

humblye yours to commande, 

To the right honorable 
and my syngular good 
lord, my lord privye 

* denied gold and silver, i. e. probably foreign and prohibited 


(From Sir John Spelman s History of Sacrilege.) 

One [Thomas] Sydney, governor of the spital there, 
as was commonly reported when I was a scholar at Wal- 
singham, was by the townsmen employed to have bought 
the site of the abbey to the use of the town, but obtained 
and kept it to himself. He had issue Thomas, and a 
daughter, mother to Robin Angust,* the footpost, of Wai - 

Thomas, by the advancement of sir Francis Walsing- 
ham, brother to his wife, grew to great wealth, was cus 
tomer of Lynn, and about a miscarriage of that place was 
long harrowed in law by Mr. Farmer of Barsham, and 
died leaving two sons. 

Thomas, the eldest, having the abbey, &c. married, 
and died without issue male. 

Sir Henry succeeded to the abbey, &c. married, and 
died without issue. 

His lady, a virtuous woman, now hath it for life ; the 
remainder being given for name-sake by sir Henry to 
Robert Sydney, the second son of the earl of Leicester. 

* Robert Anguish, to whom a singular monumental tablet, of 
which there is an etching by Cotman, still remains in Walsingham 


(From the Gentleman s Magazine for May 1839.) 

In the wrackes of Walsingam 

Whom should I chuse, 
But the Queene of Walsingam, 

To be guide to my muse ? 

Then, thou Prince of Walsingam, 

Graunt me to frame 
Bitter plaintes to re we thy wronge, 

Bitter wo for thy name. 

Bitter was it, oh, to see 

The sely sheepe 
Murdred by the raveninge wolves 

While the sheepharde did sleep. 

Bitter was it, oh, to viewe 

The sacred vyne, 
Whiles the gardiners plaied all close, 

Rooted up by the swine. 

Bitter, bitter, oh, to behoulde 

The grasse to growe 
Where the walles of Walsingam 

So stately did shewe. 
Such were the worth of Walsingam 

While she did stand, 
Such are the wrackes as now do shewe 

Of that [so] holy lande.* 

* As ye came from the holy lande 

Of blessed Walsingham. PERCY S RELICS. 


Levell, levell, with the ground 

The towres doe lye, 
Which with their golden, glittring tops 

Pearsed oute to the skeye. 

Where weare gates noe gates are no we, 

The waies unknowen 
Where the presse of freares did passe, 

While her fame far was blowen ; 

Oules doe scrike where the sweetest himnes 

Lately wear songe, 
Toades and serpents hold ther dennes 

Where the palmers did throng. 
Weepe, weepe, O Walsingam, 

Whose dayes are nightes, 
Blessings turned to blasphemies, 

Holy deedes to dispites; 
Sinne is where our Lady sate, 

Heaven turned is to helle, 
Sathan sitte where our Lord did swaye, 

Walsingam, oh, farewell ! 

This ballad is in the Bodleian, in a small 4to. volume, 
the principal part of which is occupied with a long peni 
tential poem by Philip Earl of Arundel, eldest son of 
the Duke of Norfolk, who suffered in Elizabeth s time. 


And specially, from every schire s ende 

Of Engelond, to Canturbere they wende, 

The holy blisful martir for to seke, 

That them hath holpen whan that they were seeke. 


CHAUCER S poem or series of poems called The 
Canterbury Tales is not completed in the way he 
evidently proposed. "It appears," remarks his editor 
Tyrwhitt, " that the design of Chaucer was not barely 
to recite the tales told by the pilgrims, but also to de 
scribe their journey, or 


And al the remenaunt of our pilgrimage, 

including, probably, their adventures at Canterbury as 
well as upon the road." But when they have passed 
" the waterynge of seint Thomas," the first halt after 
leaving South wark, these interesting particulars are 
unfortunately not transmitted to us by the Poet ; and we 
have little more than an account of the preparatory 


gathering in Southwark, and a description of the various 
characters who composed the motley train. 

At night was come into that hostelrie 
Wei nyne and twenty in a companye, 
Of sondry folk, by aventure i-falle 
In felaschipe, and pilgryms were thei alle, 
That to- ward Canturbury wolden ryde. 

They are all, however, individually immortalised by 
the graphic pen of the poet and by the graceful pencil of 
Stothard, and must be even now before the reader s eye. 

Another poet, whose name is unknown, undertook the 
continuation of Chaucer s work, and has furnished some 
particulars of the conduct of the pilgrims when at Can 
terbury, already quoted in the note at page 7 1 . 

A very large house still existing in that city, at the 
corner of Mercery Lane in the High Street, (but now 
divided into several shops and tenements,) is said to have 
been the veritable Checquers inn, the principal hostelry 
in the times of Pilgrimage. 

About the year 1500 the Shrine * was visited by a 
Venetian, who, after alluding to the Shrine of Saint 
Edward at Westminster, which he says surpassed that of 
Saint Martin of Tours, then generally esteemed the 
richest in Christendom, proceeds to describe more at full 
what he had seen at Canterbury. 

* This contemporary account of the Shrine (taken from Relation 
of the Island of England, published by the Camden Society, 1847, 
p. 30) is additional to those already given in Notes 45 and 58. 

p 2 


" The tomb of St. Thomas the martyr, archbishop of 
Canterbury, exceeds all belief. Notwithstanding its 
great size, it is wholly covered with plates of pure gold ; 
yet the gold is scarcely seen because it is covered with 
various precious stones, as sapphires, balasses, diamonds, 
rubies, and emeralds ; and wherever the eye turns some 
thing more beautiful than the rest is observed. Nor, in 
addition to these natural beauties, is the skill of art 
wanting, for in the midst of the gold are the most beau 
tiful sculptured gems both small and large, as well 
such as are in relief, as agates, onyxes, cornelians, 
and cameos ; and some cameos are of such size that I 
am afraid to name it ; but everything is far surpassed by 
a ruby, not larger than a thumb-nail, which is fixed at 
the right of the altar. The church is somewhat dark, 
and particularly in the spot where the shrine is placed, 
and when we went to see it the sun was near setting, 
and the weather was cloudy; nevertheless I saw that 
ruby as if I had it in my hand. They say it was given 
by a king of France." Though here called a ruby, it 
seems to have been a diamond : see hereafter, p. 224. 



I have undertaken in Notes 42, 43, perhaps super 
fluously, to append some account of the fatal occurrence 
to which the church of Canterbury chiefly owed its 
celebrity and its attractions. The same object might 
have been sufficiently answered by a reference either to 
older biographies of Becket, or to those by Dr. Giles, * 
by Dr. Hook in his Ecclesiastical Biography, or the still 
more recent Lives of the Chancellors, by Lord Camp 
bell, f and those of the Judges, by Mr. Foss. It was 
before adverting to any of these later writers, that the 
proposal in p. 114 was made. 

An event which so deeply interested a large religious 
community, and which so frightfully disturbed the placid 
current of their ordinary monotonous existence, was 
recorded by some of them, as may be imagined, in its 
minutest circumstances ; leaving to the legendary writers 
of subsequent times little real occasion to exercise their 
wonted processes of amplification and embellishment. 
Still this copious supply of information was more cal 
culated to encourage than to deter the inventive faculties 
of the martyrologists, and such was certainly the result. 
The ancient biographies of Saint Thomas of Canterbury 

* The Life and Letters of Thomas a Becket, 1846. Two vols. 8vo. 
f Lord Campbell has followed Lingard s History. 


are probably more voluminous than those of any other 
Englishman of early times. However, with respect to 
his murder, it is by no means difficult to distinguish 
those minute facts which are not likely to have been 
fabricated, and must consequently have been observed by 
eye-witnesses, from those additions rather of things 
dicta than acta, the report of expressions and not inci 
dents, which were worked into the narrative in order to 
enhance the glory of the martyr, whether by exaggerating 
the malice of his assailants, or by misrepresenting what 
was evidently a fortuitous, though very gross outrage, 
into a premeditated murder, and anticipated martyrdom. 

Referring, therefore, to the biographies already men 
tioned for the fuller accounts, I shall content myself with 
detailing the actual circumstances under which Becket 
met his death. 

It is clear that the intention of the king s knights was 
to arrest, not to murder, the archbishop of Canterbury. 
This is shown by the precautions taken along the coast 
against his escape, and the assistance claimed from the 
citizens of Canterbury, and the abbat of the monastery 
of Saint Augustine. These overt acts of hostility would 
not have been adopted by those who were contemplating 
the more summary decision of the sword, neither would 
such a parade of force, or so many agents, have been the 
means chosen to perpetrate a premeditated murder. It is 
highly improbable that, as some stories assert, four cour 
tiers of high rank each distinctly volunteered to gratify 


the king s vengeance, and then accidentally met soon 
after landing in England, and united their secret plans. 

It was from the archbishop s castle of Saltwood, then 
in the custody of Randulph del Broc, to whom it had 
been committed by the king, with the other estates of 
the archiepiscopal see, that the knights came to Canter 
bury on the fatal morning of the 29th Dec. 1170. They 
first repaired to the monastery of Saint Augustine, which 
was generally in some degree opposed to that of Christ 
Church, and there consulted with Clarembald, the abbat 
elect, what steps they should take to effect their purpose. 
Soon after the archbishop had dined, he was surprised by 
their sudden entrance into his inner chamber, where they 
held a long parley with him, the dialogue of which is 
fully related by Gervase the Canterbury historian. 
Having received a determined repulse from the resolute 
churchman, they went out, in order to arm themselves 
and make preparations for his forcible arrest. The 
servants of the archbishop took this opportunity to fasten 
the gates ; but Randulph del Broc, the king s custos of 
the see, who was well acquainted with all the approaches 
of the palace, led the knights again towards the arch 
bishop s chamber by way of the orchard. His attend 
ants, who had hitherto in vain urged him to flight, then 
hurried him through the cloisters into the church, where 
vespers were about to be sung ; hoping that the knights 
might thus be deterred from their immediate purpose, and 
that other means might be devised for the archbishop s 


eventual escape or concealment. The king s messengers, 
however, would not permit their object to be thus frus 
trated. They rushed into the church and overtook the 
archbishop as he had just passed across the north 
transept and was ascending the steps which led to the 
choir. On the approach of the armed men, Becket was 
deserted by all his terrified attendants, excepting Robert 
the canon of Merton, William Fitz Stephen the historian, 
and Edward Grim, another clerk, who afterwards wrote 
a narrative of the transaction. 

Reginald FitzUrse was the foremost of the assailants, 
and he seized the archbishop by his pall, intending to 
drag him back across the church. A struggle ensued : 
the archbishop clung to a column and refused to move, 
though struck by one of the knights with the flat side of 
his sword. At this moment Becket is said to have 
exclaimed, " Touch me not, Reginald FitzUrse ! Why 
should you treat me thus ? I have granted you many fa 
vours. You are my man, and owe me fealty and obedience, 
both you and your fellows." (For FitzUrse, Tracy, 
and Morville had all pledged their allegiance to Becket, 
kneeling before him whilst he was chancellor.) Fitz 
Urse replied, "I owe you no fealty inconsistent with that 
I owe to my lord the king." These words were scarcely 
spoken when a blow was aimed with the sword either of 
FitzUrse or Tracy, which wounded the archbishop on the 
head, though its weight was chiefly received by the arm 
of the faithful clerk, master Edward Grim. When 


Becket fell, another blow was aimed at him by Richard 
Brito, who cried, " Take that, for William s sake !" 
alluding to the animosity entertained by William count 
of Poictou, the king s brother, against the archbishop of 
Canterbury, for having opposed, on the ground of con 
sanguinity, his projected marriage with the dowager 
countess Warren. Brito s sword, having cleft the scull 
of his victim, struck against the pavement, and the point 
was broken off. This was the punctum ensis, afterwards 
preserved as a relic of the martyrdom. (See Note 43 

The blow of Brito proved fatal ; but the most horri 
ble part of the outrage was the act, if we may believe it, 
of a subdeacon, Hugh of Horsea, whose real name is 
disguised by most of the chroniclers under the fictitious 
one of Mauclerc. It is thus described : " The martyr 
still breathed. But the deep wound on the head had 
exposed the brain to view, and the white medulla was 
stained with blood. To complete the murder, Mauclerc 
put his foot on the neck of the martyr, and bespattering 
the pavement with his blood and brain exclaimed, Let 
us be off. He will rise no more ! " 

The body of the archbishop was for some time left at 
the spot where he had fallen : for the clerks and monks 
had fled in fear and consternation. At last Osbert, his 
chamberlain, ventured from his hiding-place, and having 
torn up his own gown, gathered together and disposed in 
somewhat decent order the mangled head, and covered it 


up. The monks passed the greater part of the night in an 
agony of grief. As the morning dawned, they bound up 
the head with a linen bandage, and bore the body through 
the choir to the high altar. Robert the canon of Mer- 
ton, who had been Becket s chaplain and inseparable com 
panion, and his confessor from the day he was first 
ordained, made an oration over the body. He dwelt on 
his piety and sincerity, and showed to all the monks that 
of which they had previously been ignorant, the hair 
cloth shirt which he wore next his skin. (See Note 47.) 
The first shock passed away, and the monks exulted in 
the martyr, whilst they sorrowed for the man. Arnald, 
a monk of the church, a worker in gold, and some others 
of the brotherhood, returned to the scene of murder. 
They carefully collected his blood and brains, which were 
scattered over the pavement, into a basin, and placed 
benches over the spot, that it might not be trod upon. 
The greater part of the monks passed the night in de 
votion and silence, repeating to themselves the prayers 
for the soul of the dead. 

With the next day came a rumour that the servants of 
Randulph del Broc were preparing to drag the body 
from the church. The community determined, therefore, 
to bury it with all speed. The abbat of Bexley and 
the prior of Dover attended the obsequies. The body 
was not washed. It was clothed in the hair-shirt and 
drawers which he ordinarily wore, and his monk s habit ; 
and further attired in the very same garment in which he 


had been ordained, in his alb or surplice, a plain super- 
humerale, his mitre, his tunic, dalmatic, and pall, his 
gloves, ring, and pastoral staff, and other insignia of 
an archbishop. And thus the body was borne to the 


The biographers of Becket do their best to pursue his 
murderers with strict poetic justice. It is stated that 
they rode the same night forty miles to a manor of the 
archbishop (very probably Mayfield in Sussex), and that 
having been men of great possessions, active soldiers, 
and in the strength of their age, yet now they became 
like men beside themselves, stupid, amazed, and dis 
tracted, repenting entirely of what they had done, and 
for penance took their way to the Holy Land. But Sir 
William Tracy being come to the city of Cosenza in 
Sicily, and lingering there, fell into a horrible disease, so 
that his body rotted off by putrefaction whilst he still 
lived ; and all the four were dead within three years after 
the perpetration of their crime.* 

* Sir Henry Spelman has preserved the memory of some further 
marvels which more than centuries after were still current with 
regard to the posterity of Tracy and Fitz-Urse : 

" Touching their issue, I find that Fitz-Urse fled into Ireland, 


Such are the picturesque horrors which the ecclesias 
tical chroniclers were well inclined to receive and trans 
mit as the fit conclusion to this irritating passage of their 
histories. But the records of the state have preserved, 
in a less questionable form, much that is opposed to their 

All the four knights are allowed by Gervase to have 
been " distinguished for nobility of birth, illustrious in 
war, and very familiar companions of the king." 

Hugh de Morville is described as " the most noble ;" 
he was lord of Burgh-on-the- Sands in Cumberland, and 
is commemorated as a baron in the great work of Dug- 
dale. He was still living in the reign of king John, 
when he had a charter for a market and fair at Kirk 
Oswald. (Lysons s Cumberland, p. 127.) At that place 
the sword which he used in the murder was long pre 
served, as stated by Camden in his Britannia. It is now 
attached to a statue erected at Brayton castle * to his 

and I heard there that the wild Irish and rebellious family of M Ma- 
hunde, in the north parts, is of that lineage. The family of another 
of them is, at this day, prosecuted with a fable (if it be so) that con- 
tinueth the memory of this impiety ; for in Gloucestershire it is yet 
reported that wheresoever any of them travelleth, the wind is com 
monly in their faces. 1 1 History of Sacrilege, edit. 1846, p. 96. 

* Thomas Carlisle, a celebrated organ-builder, born at Carlisle 
in 1734, was also a sculptor. " His chief performance was finished 
in his sixty-seventh year. This was a statue as large as life of Sir 
Hugh de Morville, which he made for the late Sir Wilfrid Lawson, 


honour. So various are men s judgments in matters of 
faith and politics ! 

William de Traci, who was the son of Gervase de 
Courtenai,* was afterwards high in authority in Nor 
mandy, holding the office sometimes called seneschal and 
sometimes justiciary. He was present at Falaise in 
1174, when William king of Scotland became king 
Henry s liege man ; and in 1176 was succeeded in his 
office by the bishop of Winchester. 


Upon the death of the archbishop, all divine offices 
ceased in the church of Canterbury for one year, want 
ing nine days ; at the end of which, by order of the 

Bart, of Brayton House, in Cumberland. It is clothed in armour, 
and holds the very sword with which that celebrated knight assisted 
in delivering the country from Thomas a Becket, the insolent 
primate of Canterbury." History of the Family of Carlisle, by 
Nich. Carlisle, esq. Sec. S.A. 4to. 1822, p. 45. 

* Dugdale s Baronage, i. 622. He gave to the church of Can 
terbury the lordship of Daccombe, in the parish of Moreton Hamp- 
stead in Devonshire, probably in expiation of his offence. 


pope, it was re-consecrated. Two years after, Becket 
was canonised by virtue of Pope Alexander s bull dated 
March 13, 1 173. The same year the following collect 
was appointed to be used in all churches of the province 
of Canterbury, in expiation of the guilt of the saint s 
murder : 

" Adesto, Domine, supplicationibus nostris, ut qui ex 
iniquitate nostra reos nos esse cognoscimus, beati Thomae 
martyris tui atque pontificis intercessione liberemur. 

" Amen." 

On the return of the king to England at the beginning 
of July 1 174, he went with a penitent heart in pilgrimage 
to Canterbury. On his arrival there, on Saturday the 
10th July, clothed in woollen, and with naked feet, he 
walked from the church of St. Dunstan without the city, 
and prostrating himself before the tomb of the martyr 
(then in the crypt), he voluntarily desired to be scourged 
by all the bishops, abbats, and every monk of Christ 
Church there present. He remained in prayer by the 
holy martyr all that day and night, taking no food, nor 
going forth at the call of nature, nor allowing any 
carpet, or any thing of the sort, to be placed under him. 

After the morning lauds he went round to the altars of 
the upper church and the bodies of the saints there lying, 
and again returned to the tomb of Saint Thomas in the 
crypt. When the sabbath dawned he heard mass. Lastly, 
having drank of the water rendered holy by the martyr, 
and being adorned with a cruet (to carry some away : 


see this explained hereafter, p. 226), he departed rejoicing 
from Canterbury.* 

On Holy Thursday in 1177 he came again, and 
offered on the tomb of Saint Thomas a charter of new 
privileges to the church, which is recorded in the chroni 
cles of Gervase. The same day also Philip count of 
Flanders and William de Mandeville took leave of the 
blessed Thomas to begin their journey to Jerusalem, 
hoping to do some great thing against the pagans ; but 
they effected little or nothing. 

In 1179 king Louis the Seventh came to visit the 
saint. King Henry met him at Dover, and on the 23rd 
of August both kings were received with due honour and 
ineffable joy by the venerable Richard archbishop of Can 
terbury and the bishops of England, and by the convent 
of the church of Canterbury, and an innumerable mul 
titude of the nobility of the kingdom, and so were 
conducted to the tomb of the martyr, where the king of 
France, having made a prayer, offered his golden cup, 
and a rent of a hundred measures of wine yearly.f He 
passed the night at the tomb of the martyr, and on the 
morrow asked and received fraternity in the chapter-house, 
having received his charter whereof he departed re 
joicing, and re-embarked at Dover. J 

* Gervasius, sub anno. 

f* This yearly gift was reckoned as thirty-three dolia or tuns, in 
22 Edw. IV. when the custom due on their importation was re 
mitted to the prior and convent. Rymer, Foedera, xii. 166. 

t Gervasius. 


Among the offerings of king Louis on this occasion, 
though not specified by Gervase, is supposed to have 
been the great glory of the shrine, (already mentioned 
in pp. 167, 212) "that renowned precious stone that 
was called the Regall of France, which Henry VIII. put 
into a ring,* which he wore on his thumb." (Stowe, 
Chronicle, p. 155.) 

In 1220 Becket s body was taken up, in the presence 
of king Henry the Third and a great concourse of the 
nobility, and deposited in the shrine erected in the upper 
chapel, at the expense of cardinal Langton, then arch 
bishop. From that time forward the feast of his Trans 
lation was yearly kept on the 7th of July. Every fifty 
years there was a jubilee, which took place in the years 
1270, 1320, 1370, 1420, 1470, and 1520. 


No sooner had the archbishop suffered than there was 
a crowd ready to struggle and scramble for his relics. 

* From the ring this stone, it appears, was transferred to a collar; 
as, among jewels delivered to queen Mary, the 10th March, 1553-4, 
was " a coller of golde, set with sixtene faire diamountes, wherof 
the Regall of Fraunce is one, and fourtene knottes of perles, in 
everie knotte foure perles." (MS. Harl. 611, f. 22.) 


As Gervase the Canterbury historian relates, " He had 
scarcely expired, and lo ! almost every one began to 
speak of him as Saint Thomas, You would scarcely 
find any one in the thronging multitude who was not 
desirous to be marked by his blood ; for, putting their 
fingers into his blood, and invoking his name, they made 
the sign of the cross on their foreheads or on their eyes. 
Then that thrice holy blood was collected with the brains 
and fragments of bone, and carefully laid up, after a 
short time to be exposed to the whole world !" 

Thus, from the first, the mortal relics of the saint may 
be said to have been divided into three portions : 

1. His body, placed in the shrine. 

2. His head, or rather that portion of the skull which 
had been cut off. 

3. His blood. 

All of these were subjected to occasional abstraction 
or pilfering ; unless we take the alternative of supposing 
that the relics of saint Thomas which were among the 
treasures of other churches besides his own were 
entirely fictitious fabrications. 

At an early period the rival monastery of Saint Au 
gustine at Canterbury began to boast of an acquisition, 
not very honourably obtained. Thome, the biographer 
of the abbats of that house, relates that Roger, the suc 
cessor of Clarembald, the contemporary of Becket, 
having been previously warden of the altar of saint Mary 
in the cathedral church, carried with him on his removal 


a great part of the blood of saint Thomas, and a piece 
of his skull that was cut off. This led to a feud between 
the two monasteries, which was not set at rest until the 
community of Saint Augustine had conveyed some houses 
in return for the sacred spoil. 

The monks of Christ Church, however, took care not 
to relinquish the credit of being the chief depositaries of 
the Blood of the martyr. As Gervase says, " There are 
in the church of Christ of Canterbury two volumes of 
his miracles, which it is unnecessary for me to insert in 
this compendium. But it is not beside my purpose to 
relate the way in which the blood of the new martyr, 
mixed with water, is given to drink, and to be carried 
away to the pious who desire it. A certain priest named 
William, a Londoner by birth, was struck dumb on the 
feast of saint Stephen the protomartyr : and it was told 
him in a dream, that he must visit the new martyr of 
Canterbury and drink his blood, that he might recover. 
He went, came to Canterbury, asked and obtained the 
blood, tasted it, and got well. 

As soon as this was divulged to the people many came 
to ask for the same ; when the holy blood was bestowed 
upon the sick, mixed with pure water, in order that it 
might last the longer, and not be given too freely to the 
unworthy.* On this account, water sanctified by the 

* It may be doubted whether I am really quotiug the words of 
Ccervase, if I do not here add the actual expressions which in sober 


blood of the holy martyr is carried forth into the whole 
world, and when given to the sick, and poured into some 
that have been dead, has both restored health to the 
former and life to many of the latter, through the merits 
of saint Thomas." 

Notwithstanding this great and constant demand, the 
monks were still so provident that a little cruise still re 
mained to excite the suspicions of archbishop Cranmer, 
who, in a letter to lord Cromwell dated the 18th August, 
1 538, thus expresses himself regarding it : 

" Farther, by cause that I have in great suspect that 
saint Thomas of Canterbury his blood in Christ s church 
at Canterbury is but a feigned thing, and made of some 
red ochre, or of such like matter, I beseech your 
lordship that Dr. Lee and Dr. Barber my chaplains may 
have the king s commission to try and examine that and 
all other like things there." 

With respect to relics of saint Thomas of Canterbury 
at other churches, a course of research, which the matter 
does not deserve, would probably considerably amplify 
the present Note : but the reader will accept the fol 
lowing items, which have incidentally occurred, as a 
specimen of what might be collected on this subject. 

At the church of Saint Bertin at St. Omer, in the 
year 1465, there were several different relics of our saint : 

gravity he employs : ne videlicet saeer sanguis citius effundereter, 
vel indignis daretur uberius. 



" In uno feretro ligneo deaurato cum ymaginibus 
sancti Thome martiris et sancti Audomari. 

" Item de sancto Thoraa archiepiscopo, scilicet, De 
sanguine ejus De cerebro De cilicio De vestimentis ejus 
Et de sudario ejusdem." 

Again, " In quodam vase ad modum crucis cum 
decollatione leati Thome martiris et in dorso est unus 
flos de argento. De sanguine beat! Thome martiris, 
De capillis beati Thome martiris et de staminea ejusdem." 

In a great egg also was part of the cloth stained with 
the brain and blood of the blessed Thomas. 

At Windsor was a portion of the blood of Saint 
Thomas of Canterbury, and also a shirt (camisia} ; at 
Warwick was a cilicium or hair-shirt ; and at St. Alban s 
were portions of various of his garments : 

"De sancto Thoma archiepiscopo et martyre et de 
ejus cilicio, de cuculla, de casula, de dalmatica, et de 
pallio ejusdem." 

"In the nunnery of St. Mary at Derby the sisters 
were possessed of a piece of St. Thomas s shirt, which 
pregnant women held in great veneration." (Com 
pendium Compertorum, 1789, p. 80, a MS. at Chats- 
worth, quoted in Pegge s History of Beauchief Abbey, 
pp. 3, 6.) The same authority * states that his Girdle 
was at St. Mary s Chester. 

* In addition, a Grace-cup will be found mentioned as formerly 
preserved at Alnwick, and now at Corby castle. This cup was once 
in the Arundelian collection, and was given by the Duke of Norfolk 


At Bury St. Edmund s the visitors say, " Amongst 
the reliques we founde muche vanitie and superstition, 
as the coles that saint Lawrence was tested withall, the 
paring of S. Edmundes naylles, S. Thomas of Canter 
bury penneknyjf, and his bootes, and divers skulles for 
the hedache, peces of the holie crosse able to make a hole 
crosse, of other reliques for rayne, and certain other 
superstitious usages, for avoyding of wedes growing in 
corne, with suche other." (Wright s Letters on the 
Dissolution of the Monasteries, printed for the Camden 
Society, p. 85.) 

To return, however, to the main deposit of the mortal 
relics of Becket. The statements both of Romanists 
and Reformers differ as to the fate of his bones. A bull 
of pope Paul III. declares that they were burnt,* and so 
do the great majority of authors, following an assertion 
of the chronicler Stowe, to that effect.f But this was 
contradicted by the " Declaration of Faith " put forth by 
royal authority in 1539,:}: and also by Polydore Vergil and 

to the late Henry Howard, esq. It was attributed to Becket from 
its bearing the initials T. B. under a mitre ; but modern skill in 
archaeological chronology has reduced it to a very different sera, for 
it is really of the early part of the sixteenth century. It is engraved 
in the " Antiquarian Repertory," and in " Antiquarian Gleanings 
in the North of England," recently published by W. B. Scott of 
* See hereafter, p. 233. f See p. 166. 1 See p. 235. 


William Thomas the secretary of Edward VI. in his 
work entitled " II Pelerino Inglese." * 

The fact probably was, that the " holy head " (sur 
mised not to have really belonged to Becket, inasmuch 
as his skull was nearly complete in the shrine,) was 
burnt, as a mere " relique," but that the bones of the 
saint taken from the shrine were buried near the spot 
where the shrine had stood, as was done with the 
remains of saint Swithin at Winchester, saint Hugh at 
Lincoln, and in other cases. 

In the next century, however, the Arms of saint 
Thomas were shown in Portugal, a circumstance upon 
which Fuller makes these quaint but pertinent remarks : 

"The English nuns at Lisbon do pretend (Anatomy 
of the Nuns of Lisbon) that they have both the arms of 
Thomas Becket archbishop of Canterbury ; arid yet pope 
Paul III. in a public bull set down by Sanders (De 
Schismate Anglicano, lib. i. p. 171) doth pitifully com 
plain of the cruelty of king Henry VIII. for causing the 
bones of Becket to be burned, and the ashes scattered in 
the wind : the solemnity whereof is recorded in our 
chronicles. And how his arms should escape that bone- 
fire, is to me incredible." Church History, book vi. 

Neither is the martyr s Skull even yet entirely at rest. 

* " Butt this is true that the bones are spred amongest the bones 
of so many dead men, that, without some greate miracle they wyll 
not be foundeagayue." II Pelerino Inglese, MS. Cotton. Vesp. D. 


In a recent number of the Tablet (the London newspaper 
of the Romanists) it has been stated by Mr. Talbot 
that he has brought from Verona a piece of the skull, 
given him by the bishop of that city, and he proposes to 
offer it to the new church of Saint George, in St. 
George s Fields, provided he receives subscriptions suffi 
cient to have a reliquary made " worthy to receive so 
valuable a relic as part of the skull of Saint Thomas of 
Canterbury, one of the patrons of England, and her most 
glorious martyr." 


The noble author of the recent biography of the 
Lord Chancellors, who (as before remarked) has almost 
literally followed Dr. Lingard in his notices of Becket, 
has stated that Henry VIII. in the case of Saint 
Thomas of Canterbury, proceeded as if against a living 
party, instructing his attorney-general to file a quo 
warranto information against him for usurping the office 
of a saint, and formally citing him to appear in court to 
answer the charge. The legal biographer adds, that 
"judgment of ouster would have happened against him 


by default, had not the king, to show his impartiality 
and great regard for the due administration of justice, 
assigned him counsel at the public expense ; when, the 
cause being called, and the attorney- general and the 
advocate for the accused being fully heard, with such 
proofs as were offered on both sides, sentence was pro 
nounced that Thomas sometime archbishop of Canter 
bury had been guilty of contumacy, treason, and rebellion : 
that his bones should be publicly burnt, to admonish the 
living of their duty by the punishment of the dead ; and 
that the offerings made by the shrine should be forfeited 
to the Crown. A proclamation followed," &c. 

Now all this, until we come to the proclamation, 
appears to be an historical romance, put together, ac 
cording to the opinion of Archdeacon Todd in his Life 
of Cranmer, by Chrysostom Henriquez in his Phoenix 
Reviviscens, 1 626, from the fictions of Sanders and Pollini : 
notwithstanding that Sanders has assigned a date (24 
April, 1536) for the citation ; another (11 June, 1538) 
for the trial ; and Pollini adds that the order for the de 
struction of the shrine was made on the llth August, 
1538, and carried into execution on the 19th of the 
same month. 

The privy-council books of the period are not extant, 
and there is no certainty how far Pollini may not have 
obtained some information not now apparent ; but Dr. 
Todd remarks that the bull of pope Paul III. issued in 
1538, would suggest to Sanders sufficient hints for the 


story, to which his own imagination supplied the fictitious 
circumstances. That bull contains the following 1 passage 
with regard to king Henry : 

etiam in mortuos, et eos quidem quos in sanctorum 
numerum relatos universalis ecclesia pluribus seculis 
venerata est, feritatem exercere non expavit : divi enim 
Thomse Cantuar. archiepiscopi, cujus ossa quae in dicto 
regno Angliae potissimum ob innumera ab omnipotenti 
Deo illic perpetrata miracula summa cum veneratione in 
area aurea in civitate Cantuarien. servabantur, postquam 
ipsum divurn Thomam, ad majorem religionis contemp- 
tum, injudicium vocari et tanquam contumacem dam- 
nari et proditorem declarari fecerat, exhumari et 
comburi et cineres in ventum spargi jussit ; omne plane 
cunctarum gentium crudelitatem superans, cum ne in 
bello quidem hostes victores saevire in mortuorum cada- 
vera soliti sunt ; ad haec, omnia ex diversorum regum 
etiam Anglorum et aliorum principum liberalitate do- 
naria, ipsi arcae appensa, quae multa et maximi pretii 
erant, sibi usurpavit ; &c. (Bullae, Romae, 1673, vol. i. 
f. 701 ; Wilkins, Concilia, iii. 841.) 

But the " Declaration of Faith," issued by royal 
authority in 1539, contains a contradictory statement 
as to the burning of the bones, and does not at all con 
firm the supposed proceedings by quo warranto. The 
whole passage, written in justification of the destruction 
of shrines and reliquaries, is here given : 

" As for shrines, capses, and reliquaries of saints so 


called, although the most were nothing less,* for as 
much as his highness hath found other f idollatry or 
detestable superstition used thereabouts, and perceived 
that they were for the most part feigned things ; as the 
Blood of Christ, so called, in some place was but a piece 
of red sylke, inclosed in a piece of thyck glass of chrys- 
talline, in an other place, oyle colloured of sanguinis 
drachonis ; instead of the Mylk of our Lady, a piece of 
chalk or of ceruse ; our Lady s Girdle, and other innu 
merable illusions, superstitions, and apparent deceipts ; 
and more of the Holy Crosse than three waines may 
carry. His majestye, therefore, hath caused the same 
to be taken away, and the abusyve pieces thereof to be 
burnt, the doubtfull to be sett and hidden honestly away, 
for fear of idollatry. 

" As for the shryne of Thomas Beckett, sometime 
archbishop of Canterbury, which they called Saint 
Thomas, by approbations it appeareth clearly that his 
common legend is false ; and that at the time of his 
death, and long afore, he was reconciled to king Henry 
II. king of this realme, duke of Normandy and Guyene, 
and had no quarrell directly with him, but only against 
the archbishop of York, which arose from proud pre- 
heminences between them ; and by the strife thereof 
procured frowardly his own death, which they untruly 
call martyrdome ; and happened upon the arrest of a 

* i. e. anything but saints. -f- i. e. either. 


servant of his, whereupon the gentlemen that arrested 
him caused the whole pity to rise in armes, and for that 
he gave opprobrious words to the gentlemen, which then 
counsailed him to leave his stubborness, and avoyde out 
of the way ; and he not only called the one of them 
baud, but also took another by the bossome, and vio 
lently shook and plucked in such manner that he had 
almost overthrown him to the pavement of the church ; 
so that upon this fray, the same, moved and chaffed, 
strake him, and so in the throng Beckett was slayne ; 
and that he never did acte in his life sufficient to prove 
any holiness, but came to be the king s chancellour by 
money, was a great warriour, a brenner of townes, a 
croacher of benefices, a hunter and hawker, proud and 
seditious ; by corruption and unlawful means obtained 
the archbishopricke of Canterbury, as he himselfe con 
fessed openly to pope Alexander, and as by writeings 
and chronicks of good record, by his chapleins and 
brethren the bishopps of England made ; and sundry of 
them above forty yeares printed in Paris, and never 
reproved ; (although the mercy of God might be ex 
tended unto him) yet nevertheless it was arrested, that 
his shryne and bones should be taken away and be 
stowed in such place as the same should cause no 
superstition afterwards. * And, forasmuch as his head 

* This passage is manifestly imperfect, but I have not been able 
to find any other copy of this document but that printed in Collier s 
Ecclesiastical History. 


almost hole was found with the rest of the bones, closed 
within the shryne ; and that there was in that church a 
great scull of another head, but much greater by the 
three-quarter parts than that part which was lacking in 
in the head closed within the shryne, whereby it appeared 
that the same was but a feigned fiction. If this hede 
was brent, was therefore Saint Thomas brent ? As 
suredly it concludeth not. 

On the whole it would seem that king Henry pro 
ceeded against saint Thomas of Canterbury in a much 
more sensible and judicious way than that represented by 
Sanders, and so easily credited by lord Campbell. 

The first step made towards discrediting saint Thomas 
of Canterbury, together with other inferior and local 
saints, was taken in the injunctions issued by royal 
authority in 1536, for abrogating superfluous holidays. 
By this measure all holidays which fell in term-time, or 
in harvest, were no longer to be observed by the com 
monalty, but they were to work thereon as usual. As 
the season of harvest was reckoned from the 1st of July 
to the 29th of September, the feast of the Translation of 
saint Thomas, kept annually on the 7th of July, fell 
under this interdict, and, though the mere ritual within 
the churches was observed as before, the multitude was 
no longer attracted to Canterbury by the ceremonial, 
or allowed to assemble to their wonted recreations. 

Among other injunctions of the vicegerent Cromwell, 
issued shortly after, and addressed to ministers having 


cure of souls, it was directed that the late order con 
cerning the discharging certain superstitious holidays 
should be read to the people, with exhortations to 
govern themselves accordingly ; and then it was added, 
" they shall not set forthe or extoll any images, reliques, 
or myracles for any superstition or lucre, nor allure the 
people by any inticementes to the pilgrimage of any 
saynt, otherwise than ys permitte in the articles lately 
put forth by th auctoritye of the kinges majestye, and 
condescended upon by the prelates and clergye of this 
his realme in convocation, as though it were proper or 
peculiar to that saynt to gyve this commoditye or that, 
seeinge all goodnesse, helth, and grace ought to be both 
asked and loked for only of God, as of the very author 
of the same, and of none other, for without hym that 
cannot be gyven ; but they shall exhorte as well their 
parishners as other pilgrimes that they do rather applye 
themselves to the kepyng of Goddes commaundements 
and fulfilling of his workes of cheritye, perswading them 
that they shall please God more by the true exercising 
of their bodilie labour, travaile, or occupation, and pro 
viding for their familyes, than yf they went about to the 
said pilgrimages ; and that yt shall profitt more their 
soules helth yf they do bestow that on the poore and 
nedy which they wold have bestowed uppon the said 
images or reliques." 

In 1538 the commemoration of the festival days of 
saint Thomas was ordered to be entirely laid aside, and 


the ordinary service for the day of the week to be used 
instead; and archbishop Cranmer himself set the ex 
ample of disregarding the great festival of the Translation, 
by not fasting, as had been the custom, on the eve of it, 
but supping on flesh with his household. 

It was in September of the same year that the Shrine 
was destroyed ; and on the 16th Nov. 1538, in a pro 
clamation on church matters, the king took the oppor 
tunity to give the final blow to the character of the 
martyr in the following plain-spoken terms :* 

" Item, Forasmuch as it appeareth clearly that Thomas 
Becket, sometime archbishop of Canterbury, stubbornely 
to withstand the holsome lawes established against the 
enormities of the clergy, by the king s highnes most 
noble progenitor, king Henry the Second, for the com 
mon welth, rest, and tranquillity of this realme, of his 
forward mind fled the realme into France, and to the 
bishop of Rome, maintenour of those enormities, to pro- 

* Proclamation printed at the time by Berthelet, extant in a 
transcript in MS. Cotton. Titus, B. I. The same representation is 
repeated in letters under the signet, addressed in the following 
month to justices of the peace : a document printed in Burnet, vol. 
iii. Records, No. 63 : and also, somewhat more briefly, in the De 
claration of Faith already quoted. It would be difficult, perhaps, 
to find the authority for some of its statements; but, on the whole, 
it certainly presents the catastrophe, though in coarse and ex 
aggerated terms, more truly told than in the elaborate and highly 
embellished narratives of the martyrologists. 


cure the abrogation of the said lawes, whereby arose 
much trouble in this said realm. And that his death, 
which they untruly called martirdome, happened upon a 
reskewe by him made : and that, as it is written, he gave 
opprobrious wordes to the gentlemen which then coun- 
sailed him to leave his stubbornes, and to avoide the 
commotion of the people, risen up for that reskewe. 
And he not only called the one of them bawde, but also 
toke Tracy by the bosome, and violently shoke and 
plucked him in such a manner as he had almost over 
throw him to the pavement of the church. So that 
uppon this fray, one of their company perceiving the 
same, struck him, and so in the throng Becket was slain. 

" And further, that his canonization was made up 
only by the bishop of Rome, because he had been a 
champion to mainteine his usurped authority, and a 
bearer of the iniquitie of the clergie. 

" For these, and for other great and urgent causes 
long to recite, the king s majestic, by the advice of his 
counsell, hath thought expedient to declare to his loving 
subjects, that, notwithstanding the said canonization, 
there appeareth nothing in his life and exteriour conversa 
tion whereby he should be called a saint, but rather 
esteemed to have been a rebel and traitor to his prince. 
Therefor his grace straightly chargeth and commandeth, 
that from henceforth the said Thomas Becket shall not 
be esteemed, named, reputed, nor called a saint ; but 
bishop Becket : and that his images and pictures, 


through the hole realme, shall be put down and avoided 
out of all churches, chappelles, and other places. And 
that from henceforth the days used to be festival! in his 
name shall not be observed ; nor the service, office, an - 
tiphones, collettes, and praiers in his name redde, but 
rased and put out of all the bookes. And that all other 
festivall daies already abrogate shall be in no wise 
solemnised, but his grace s ordenance and injunctions 
thereupon observed ; to the intent his grace s loving 
subjects shall be no longer blindly led, and abused, to 
committ idolatrie, as they have done in times passed ; 
upon paine of his majesties indignacion, and imprisone- 
mente at his grace s pleasure." 

Sixteen months after this proclamation the humiliated 
monks of Canterbury surrendered their priory into the 
king s hands on the 20th March, 1539-40. 


(See p. 70.) 


P. 6. Glaucoplutus. Erasmus introduces this same 
character in his Colloquy named Ichthyophagia, where 
he is described as a very learned man, and one of chief 
influence in the city of Eleutheropolis, who got into a 
difficulty with the magistracy from having entertained 
one Eros (by whom Erasmus is supposed to mean 
himself) with a fowl for breakfast during Lent. Eleu 
theropolis is probably Fribourg ; but I have not dis 
covered the real name of Glaucoplutus. 

P. 77. English Pilgrims to Compostella. In Cax- 
ton s Epilogue to " The Book named Cordyale," printed 
in 1480, he notes how Anthony earl Rivers, " since the 
time of the great tribulation and adversity of my said 
lord, hath been full virtuously occupied, as in going of 
pilgrimages to Saint James in Galice, to Rome, to Saint 
Bartholomew, to Saint Andrew, to Saint Matthew in the 
realm of Naples, and to Saint Nicholas de Bar in Puyle, 
and divers other holy places." And in lord Rivers own 
preface to the Dictes and Sayings of Philosophers, 
printed in 1477, he himself relates that he went to " the 
jubilee and pardon at the holy apostle St. James in 


Spain, which was the year of Grace a thousand cccc. 
Ixxiij. and in consequence shipped at Southampton in the 
month of July the said year. 

P. 85. The riches of Walsingham. Roger As- 
cham, when visiting Cologne, in 1550, makes this 
remark, " The Three Kings be not so rich, I believe, as 
was the Lady of Walsingham." 

Ibid. Tombs running with oil. Matthew Paris 
(History, in anno 1239) reports that the tomb of Robert, 
founder of the Robertines at Knaresborough, abundantly 
cast forth a medicinal oil ; which possibly, remarks Ful 
ler,- " might be the dissolving of some gums used about 
his body ; and other natural causes may be assigned 
thereof. For mine own eyes have beheld, in the fair 
church of Ilminster in Somersetshire, the beautiful tomb 
of Nicholas Wadham, esq. and Dorothy his wife (founders 
of the uniform college of Wadham in Oxford), out of 
which, in summer, sweats forth an unctuous moisture 
with a fragrant smell, (which possibly an active fancy 
might make sovereign for some uses,) being nothing else 
than some bituminous matter (as by the colour and scent 
doth appear) used by the marbler in joining the chinks 
of the stones, issuing out chiefly thereabouts." Fuller s 
Church History, Book vi. sect. 1. 

P. 96. The pilgrimage to Wilsdon. Dr. Crome, 
who was questioned before the bishops for heretical opi 
nions in the year 1530, spoke thus of pilgrimages : "I 
thynke that pilgrimages maye be well doon, I never 


sayde otherwisse ; but I have sayde oftyn, and now I 
wyll saye ageyne, Doo your dewtye, and then your 
devocion. First, I saye, doe those thynges the whyche 
God hath commaundyd to be doon ; the whyche are the 
dedys of pytye ; for those shalbe requyred of thy hande 
agayne. When thou corny st at the daye of judgement, 
He wyll not saye unto thee, Why wentst thou not to 
Wylsdon a pylgrymage ? but he wyl saye unto thee, 
* I was an hungrede, and thou gavyst me no meat, I was 
nakyd, and thou gavyst me no clothys, and soche lyke. 
They that wyll leve the comawndements of God undon, 
and wyll followe and doe voluntarye dedys, whyche were 
nether comawnded by God nor yett by the churche, are 
greatlye to be blamyd, and are worthy to be punyshed." 
Strype, Memorials, iii. Appx. x. 

P. 98. Indulgences. One of these episcopal in 
dulgences granted to Walsingham came before the 
notice of Blomefield, who thus describes it : " John 
Alcock, bishop of Ely, [1486-1500,] granted 40 days 
pardon or indulgence, to all who, before the altar of sir 
John Cheney knight, in the priory church, should hear 
mass, or the Lord s prayer, with the angelic salutation, 
for the souls of sir John and the lady Agnes his wife." 

P. 107. The Crepaudine.In Note 36, I might 
have referred to Nares s Glossary, v. Toad-stone, and to 
Mr. Way s note in the Promptorium Parvulorum, v. 
Crepawnde. In the latter work the word is Latinized 
smaragdus : and Mr. Way remarks, " On some of these 


stones, according to Albertus Magnus, the figure of the 
animal was imprinted ; these were of a green colour, and 
termed crapaudina, being possibly the kind here called 
smaragdus, a name which properly implies the emerald." 
Such was probably the stone at Walsingham, and two so 
called crapodinus (see p. 168) were on the shrine at 

P. 107. Pictures of Saint Christopher. "St. 
Christopher, before his martyrdom, requested of God 
that wherever his body was, the place should be free 
from pestilence, mischiefs, and infection ; and therefore his 
picture or portrait was usually placed in public wayes, 
and at the entrance of towns and churches, according to 
the received distich 

Christophorum videas, postea tutus eris." 

Browne s Vulgar Errors, b. v. c. 16. 
Chaucer s Yeman had 

A Christofre on his brest of silver schene. 
P. 135. Scarlet gown of Doctors. " And the 
archbishop saide to me ; Thou judgest everie priest 
proud that will not go araied as thou doest. By God, 
I deme him to be more meeke that goeth every day in a 
scarlet gown, than thou in thy threed-bare blewe gowne." 
Examination of Thorpe the Lollard, before archbishop 

P. J 39. Colefs lodging at Sheen charterhouse. 
" Item, as touchyng my logyng at the Charter-house, 
I wyll that all bordwork made of waynskott, as tables, 


trestils, greate coffers, cupboards, and all painted images 
upon the walls, remayne to that lodgyng in perpetuum ; 
all other stuff there besydes afore rehersed I wyl be 
dispoased by the discrecion of myne executours." 

And in a previous item, " I bequeathe to maister 
John Banburghe a silver pott having on the ere wry ten 
John Colett, my bed at Charterhouse that I ley upon 
myself, with mattresse and blanketts to the said bed 
belonginge," &c. 

P. 160. The golden head, or portrait of Beck et. 
In connection with the remarks made in Note 55, I 
must correct an inadvertence in my- translation (p. 52), 
" the attendant on the holy head." The words in the 
original are " assessor capitis aurei," comparing which 
with the former description of the "tota facies optimi 
viri inaurata multisque gemmis insignita, " it seems 
most probable that this was a portrait of Becket, painted 
in brilliant colours upon a gold ground, as was the usual 
practice of the early painters. 

P. 180. Worship of the Saints. In his Colloquy of 
the Rich-Poormen (the Franciscan friars) Erasmus 
speaks still more plainly on saint-worship : 

Innkeeper. To-day is a holiday with us. 

Conrad. To what saint ? 

Innk. To Anthony. 

Con. He was indeed a good man ; but why do you 
keep a holiday to him ? 

Innk. I will tell you. This place is full of swine- 


herds, because of the neighbouring oak-forest : and it is 
their belief that Anthony has especially the charge of 
that animal; and so they worship him lest he should 
make them suffer for their neglect. 

Con. I wish they would worship him in truth ! 

Innk. In what way ? 

Con. He worships the saints best, who is most suc 
cessful in following their examples. 


In the churchyard of Llanfihangel aber Cowin, in the 
county of Carmarthen, are three contiguous gravestones, 
which are known, from popular tradition, by the name 
of the Pilgrims Tombs. The annexed engravings re 
present the super-incumbent slabs, together with their 
head and foot stones. Two of them are rudely sculptured 
with the human figure, each signed on the breast with a 
cross ; the third, which is ridged en dos d ane, and or 
namented with cable mouldings, has a cross inclosed in 
like mouldings on its headstone. These crosses seem to 


imply that the persons were cruce signati, or such as 
had undertaken a vow of pilgrimage to the Holy Land. 

The Welsh, who were always superstitious, were 
greatly attached to enterprises of pilgrimage. The 
shrine of saint David was a favourite object of their 

In the summer of 1838 the central grave was opened 
by some gentlemen resident at St. dear s. At the 
depth of four feet they came to a coffin, the sides of 


which were formed of six detached stones, one large slab 
being placed below and another above : in this they 
found several small bones, which had apparently been 
those of a young person, and half a dozen shells, answer 
ing by description to those worn on the hats and gar 
ments of pilgrims. (Gentleman s Magazine, New Series, 
vol. vin. p. 576, vol. xi. p. 114.) 

Here down my wearied limbs I ll lay : 
My buttoned staff, my weed of gray, 
My palmer s hat, my scallop shell, 
My cross, my cord, and all farewell ! 

Epitaph, l>y Robert He.ijrick. 

University of Toronto 









Acme Library Card Pocket 

Under Pat. "Ref. Index File"